LA Kings Dean Lombardi Answers His Critics

The following is the first in a series about Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi, his rebuilding plan and how it is being received by fans.

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The 2008 off-season has been a relatively quiet one for the Los Angeles Kings. To be sure, outside of the 2008 National Hockey League Entry Draft in June in which they selected, according to most pundits and hockey media outlets, one of the strongest draft classes, the Kings have been virtually silent in terms of free agent signings and trades.

Indeed, the Kings have a defensive corps that has just three veteran players in Tom Preissing, Denis Gauthier and Matt Greene, with the rest being very young players, including Jack Johnson and Peter Harrold. Add to that the fact that the number six and seven spots could be filled from a crop of young prospects, including Drew Doughty and Thomas Hickey, and it becomes clear that experience is not going to be the strong suit of the Kings’ defensive unit in the coming season.

Clearly, unless the Kings can add another veteran defenseman to that mix—they are definitely in the market—they will be awfully inexperienced, not to mention that while some have a boatload of potential, none of the blue liners currently in the lineup jump out at you as being top-notch defensemen on a team that gave up goals in bunches last season.

The fact that the Kings do not have what many would consider to be an NHL-caliber blue line corps at present is among the many reasons Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi has had to don a flak jacket and helmet while trying to dodge heavy incoming fire from a very vocal segment of fans who are absolutely livid about the current state of the franchise, and that would be putting it mildly. Read more of this post

Fitting End To Miserable Season

LOS ANGELES — In their final game of the 2007-08 season, the Los Angeles Kings dropped a 4-3 decision to the Anaheim Ducks in front of a sellout crowd of 18,118 fans at Staples Center on Saturday afternoon.

It was a rather fitting end to yet another miserable, disastrous season. Read more of this post

Los Angeles Kings: Playoff Contention Slipping Away

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings are, for all intents and purposes, out of playoff contention.

After winning just eight games between November 1 and December 31, the Kings now find themselves deep in the National Hockey League’s Western Conference cellar, fifteen points behind eighth-place Anaheim with forty games left in the regular season.

Last year, it took 96 points to make the playoffs in the Western Conference, and since the 2001-02 season, a team has had to earn a minimum of 91 points in the standings to qualify for the post-season.

With just thirty points after 42 games, the Kings need 61 points to reach the 91-point plateau. That means they would need to win three out of every four games the rest of the way, and even though they accomplished just that over the last week, realistically speaking, winning three out of every four games is an insurmountable task for the young Kings. Read more of this post

LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi Is Dodging Bullets

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi has been dodging a lot of bullets lately.

Whether they are being fired by the media or by Kings fans, Lombardi has been taking heavy fire since June 22, the first day of the 2007 National Hockey League Entry Draft, when he defied conventional wisdom by selecting defenseman Thomas Hickey with the fourth overall pick.

The selection of Hickey, who was not among the top ten prospects according to all the major scouting services, was widely panned by the media and fans alike.

And then on July 1, the first day that NHL teams could sign unrestricted free agents, Lombardi once again drew heavy criticism from fans for his failure to sign any of the attractive free agents that day, including forwards Daniel Briere, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez. Read more of this post


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