Changing Of The Guard: LA Kings Name Anze Kopitar As New Captain

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — On June 17, the Los Angeles Kings made official what had been mostly a foregone conclusion for a few weeks…that right wing Dustin Brown was captain no more.

Indeed, the Kings announced a changing of the guard, with center Anze Kopitar being named their new captain.

Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi told the media during a conference call that the reasons for the change were two-fold. But he stressed that the primary reason was that it’s time to expand the horizons of other players and allow them further growth.

“There’s a number of things that go into this,” said Lombardi. “Number one, being a captain, there’s no doubt that you’re not only responsible for your own game, but 23 other players. That is an enormous responsibility. That’s an enormous amount of work to be responsible for twenty people. The second part of this—you know how I feel about culture and chemistry and the things that don’t necessarily show up on a chart, or anything of that nature. My feeling on this is that, at some point, there has to be an evolution in the growth of some of your other players, the players who have come through the system. It’s essentially their turn.”

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LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi: “You Can’t Re-Create, You Have To Re-Invent”

LOMBARDI: Update on Darryl Sutter contract negotiations included.


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.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — The local media requested time with Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi about two weeks ago, but after initially acknowledging the request, there was nothing but silence from the Kings communications staff until the evening of May 5, when we were told that he would be available the next morning for a media conference call.

So why the long wait? As it turns out, the Kings are in deep, philosophical thought about all aspects of the team and hockey operations.

“I haven’t been avoiding you,” Lombardi began. “So if I give you a little preamble without going into particulars, after we got over the punch in the gut, I think we had to re-evaluate everything.”

“I think the theme of the last couple weeks—it started with the amateur scouts, and I’ll make it very simple,” Lombardi continued. “I think we talked about this after we had won the first Cup, and remember, I had told you I had talked to a number of people. Despite what a lot of those people told me, they also warned me that you’re not going to understand it, probably until you go through it.”

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LA Kings Vincent Lecavalier Wants To Make The Most Of Last Chance At Second Stanley Cup Win

LA Kings center Vincent Lecavalier
Photo courtesy Los Angeles Kings

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Since he arrived in Southern California, veteran center Vincent Lecavalier has been a huge, pleasant surprise for the Los Angeles Kings.

Ending the regular season with ten goals and seven assists for 17 points, with a +1 plus/minus rating and a 51.0 percent face-off winning percentage in 42 games with the Kings, Lecavalier gave the Kings a huge upgrade to their third line center position.

Lecavalier pointed to the fact that he was traded in January, not at the trade deadline, as a factor in his play.

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Rob Scuderi: “It Was A Breath Of Fresh Air” To Return To LA Kings

LA Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Before finalizing the trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on February 26 for veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi, in exchange for defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi took the unusual step of speaking with a player prior to trading for him.

“We got permission from Chicago to talk to [Scuderi], and one thing good about it is he knows what [Kings head coach Darryl Sutter] expects, and I talked to him about the team now. The other thing, too, was about moving his family. It was critical that—one of the reasons I think he left was because his wife wanted to be closer to his family. [I told him], ‘I don’t want you coming out here if your wife’s staying back east,’ and she was all excited. And the guy—he commands a lot of respect in that room, and like I said, for giving up what we have to pay him, as well as fitting in, it’s almost like, ‘well, it makes too much sense.’”

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LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi Dishes On The Trade Deadline

LA Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi speaking to the media during the on-ice celebration after the Kings won the 2014 Stanley Cup Championship at Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 13, 2014.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — The 2016 National Hockey League trade deadline has come and gone, and perhaps a bit surprisingly, outside of a minor league trade in which they acquired forward Brett Sutter from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for forward prospect Scott Sabourin, the Los Angeles Kings remained on the sidelines on deadline day, February 29.

“We were pretty much done yesterday,” Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi said during a media conference call. “Once we got the defenseman, the only other thing we were looking at was obviously, with [left wing Marian] Gaborik out, looking for the experienced player who can play in your top six. I talked to a lot of people today, but I didn’t anticipate anything, and it didn’t surprise me.”

As Lombardi alluded to, he had already been quite busy, acquiring veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi on February 26 and forward Kris Versteeg on February 28. Those trades were preceded by the acquisitions of center Vincent Lecavalier and defenseman Luke Schenn on January 6.

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