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LA Kings: It May Not Be About Dean Lombardi Now, But At One Time, It Was

COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS: How much truth is there behind Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi’s claim that, “…it ain’t me,” when discussing his role in his team winning two Stanley Cup Championships in the last three seasons? One look at the Kings’ team culture, which extends well beyond the dressing room, and has become just as important as the talent level of the team, will provide much of the answer. Final installment of a three-part series.


LA Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi, shown here addressing the crowd at their 2014 Stanley Cup Championship rally at Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 16, 2014.
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Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty..net

EL SEGUNDO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — It didn’t take Dean Lombardi very long after his arrival in Southern California to lay out his plan for building the Los Angeles Kings into a perennial Stanley Cup contender. But what would probably surprise many, as reported in Part 2 of this series, acquiring high-end, skilled players was not at the top of the to-do list, even though that would have to happen at some point.

Instead, Lombardi stressed that his team would be built by drafting young players and taking the time to develop them—their skills and their character—in the minor leagues. He would build a team in which, as he said when he was hired on April 21, 2006, “…every one of them who puts on a Kings jersey, no matter where they go, feels ‘once a King, always a King.’”

As the Kings fought their way through the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, overcoming adversity became a common theme. Indeed, they had to claw and scratch their way back from a 3-0 series deficit in the opening round against San Jose to win that series, 4-3. They won three seven-game series in which they faced elimination, and they came back from two-goal deficits to win games time after time after time.

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LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi’s Focus On Character and Leadership Is Paying Dividends

LA Kings winger and captain Dustin Brown
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Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — With the Los Angeles Kings on the verge of winning their second Stanley Cup Championship in the last three seasons, perhaps as soon as tonight, much has been said about their character and leadership qualities that have been on display throughout the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Indeed, leading the New York Rangers in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, 3-0 in the best-of-seven series, the Kings could win the whole enchilada as soon as tonight, when the two teams face-off in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York (5:00 PM PDT; televised on NBCSN in the United States and on CBC and RDS in Canada).

Character and leadership are usually not even a thought in anyone’s mind while watching their favorite hockey team, and especially here in the Los Angeles area, those characteristics were often scoffed at by pundits and fans alike, who believed that skill and talent were all that mattered.

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LA Kings: Dean Lombardi’s Gamble On Justin Williams Is Paying Off Many Times Over

LA Kings right wing Justin Williams
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Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — Back in early March 2009, when the Los Angeles Kings acquired veteran right wing Justin Williams, many people, including yours truly, expressed concern about the deal, given Williams’ lengthy injury history.

Indeed, before joining the Kings, Williams had played a full, 82-game season just twice. From 2000-01 to 2008-09, he suffered injuries that include broken fingers and hands, a broken wrist, shoulder strains and sprains, a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a torn Achilles tendon.

When he was acquired by the Kings, Williams was on injured reserve after suffering another broken hand.

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Quick One-Timer On LA Kings Defenseman Jake Muzzin

LA Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin
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Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — In case you haven’t noticed, and by all indications, many still haven’t, or worse, refuse to do so, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin has taken some huge leaps forward, in terms of his play, during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

I wrote about that on May 23, explaining the reasons that the vast majority of criticism hurled at him is unwarranted (see Contrary To Popular Belief, LA Kings’ Jake Muzzin Is Becoming A Solid NHL Defenseman).

After that story was published, Muzzin went on to play what was, arguably, the best game of his career, earning the second star of the game in the Kings’ 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of the 2014 Western Conference Final on May 26 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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