LOMBARDI’S INTERVIEW & MENTORS

If you haven’t read Dean’s interview on NHL Live, click on the link.

I don’t intend to translate Dean on this one. It’s not necessary. He actually managed to say nothing new. His reaction to the Kings slowly taking themselves out of playoff contention is something like this…

Thanks Dean.

What I do want to focus on are Dean’s mentors, two people he often mentions as being the models of his philosophy, Lou Lamoriello and Bobby Clarke.

Dean Lombardi fancies himself a builder. He apparently doesn’t believe you can build a team through trades or quick fixes but it rather must be built from the ground up (be real bad to become good) and battle itself through this type of adversity. Is that Lamoriello’s practice that Dean preaches?

Lou, what do you think?

“First of all, I despise the word rebuilding because I don’t think that should be the case. We have to look at what the reasons are that we find ourselves in this situation. In my opinion it’s not talent, but maybe it’s the wrong talent, wrong chemistry. That starts with me. I don’t look at it as rebuilding. This isn’t something that you have to go subtract, subtract and subtract and start from the bottom. Absolutely not. You have to be very careful of how you approach it and take a step back and look at the big picture and reasons to be part of the solution. There is no reason we should be in this state right now.”

That came courtesy of one of Lou’s recent interviews with Dan Rosen after the Langenbrunner trade.

Now, as to Bobby Clarke, let’s state the obvious and well known first. Great player. The captain of the Flyers during the Broad Street Bullies years of the 1970’s. But it cannot be Bobby’s playing career that Dean learned from because, well, Lombardi never played in the NHL and we are talking about management here. Thus, Dean heralds Bobby Clarke, the GM of the Flyers, North Stars, Panthers and the Flyers again. 22 seasons of being a general manager. Zero Stanley Cups. We also have the string of first round exits in the last 90’s and through 2002.

But Bobby never made dramatic changes to improve the team, did he? Dean makes it sound like playing it cool and calm was the lesson learned from all of these mentors. Let’s look at what Dean said on this subject.

Question: That experience you had, building in San Jose, how much does it help you now?

LOMBARDI: No question. When you’re in this position, it’s about keeping your wits about you and keeping everybody focused. Emotion is a big part of this game, on and off the ice. It’s good to be emotional, but not to where it clouds your judgment. I was very fortunate when I was young. I was the youngest GM in the league for a long time, but I was very lucky to have guys like Bill Torrey, Harry Sinden, Cliff Fletcher, Lou Lamoriello. They would just give you that emotional uplift, to say, `Stick with it. You’re doing the right thing. You know how teams are built. Don’t let all the outside influences affect your judgment.’ So a lot of those men, I owe them a debt of gratitude. The other thing I learned, when I was working for Philadelphia, to be exposed to Bobby Clarke was just incredible. You talk about a winner and an athlete who established a culture in a franchise, not only as a player but carried over as a GM, his ability to focus and do the right thing was just incredible. So I’ve been very fortunate to have some great teachers.

Wasn’t Bobby Clarke the one that fired Terry Murray after the 1997 Stanley Cup loss to the Red Wings? You know, the Cup Finals where Detroit swept Philadelphia and Terry made the infamous “choking” comment about his team’s performance that caused the Flyers, led by Eric Lindros, to have a team meeting without Murray. Yeah, that firing wasn’t an emotional reaction. But wait…this is the same Bobby Clarke that then made FIVE coaching changes in the next FIVE seasons, correct? In fact, one of the coaches he fired, Roger Neilson, was terminated because he got cancer. Clarke responded:

“The Neilson situation – Roger got cancer – that wasn’t our fault. We didn’t tell him to go get cancer. It’s too bad that he did. We feel sorry for him, but then he went goofy on us.”

Classy. But I digress.

Under Clarke’s tenure, the Flyers kept losing in the first round, did nothing of substance and there were ultimately calls for his head in Flyers’ land. Bobby Clarke eventually resigned.

So, that’s the model? A GM that was a great player, never won a Cup as general manager, fired coaches at a whim and didn’t tell Roger Neilson to get cancer.

Let me explain why I bring these issues up. It’s not just to revisit history but to dissect bullshit. I have liked a lot of what Dean Lombardi has done. I have been a supporter but cute lines and distorted accolades aren’t going to do it for the intelligent fans. If the response to the team’s potential collapse in what Dean calls the “second year” (a clever away of not counting the first few because they were not playoff years) will be to do nothing, he may have to start working on answers to questions about his former tenure with the Kings and what he took away from it. I don’t want to see that happen. I still believe he can finish what he started here. Winston Churchill said, “I never worry about action, but only about inaction.” The fans are worried about your inaction. You came here to build a winner. Nobody has ever won a race standing still.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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12 replies

  1. I think from what I remember reading is that he was fired in San Jose for his inaction. I don’t know both Lombado and Murray have completely lost it. I was a Deano supporter for sure for a while but both of them are just talking crazy maybe that’s why players are playing as if this whole thing is a joke. Wish I could be a fly on the wall to see exactly what it is that’s going on.

  2. This has been utterly crazy. I could understand the “just play the system, and the breaks will come” mantra during the first slump, but now that we’re in another deep dive in the standings, and the system is not producing the breaks that we are promised…because it can’t since the entire league seems to have figured out what it is, you would think they would have to change “the system”. But they don’t. Apparently no one speaks up in team meetings about the constant line tweaks destroying any chemistry before it’s allowed to build, and the death spiral out of playoff contention is allowed to continue. The scariest thing for me is that Lombardi seems to be setting up excuses not to fire Murray even if we miss the playoffs, with his “the second year of making the playoffs is the hardest” crap. It might be the hardest in the playoffs, but making them the second year shouldn’t be the hard part. I’m just getting images of Nero fiddling while Rome burns here.

    • Yeah I’m getting images of when the coyote put dynamite around the cave and tried to detonate it when roadrunner ran thru but it didn’t actually detonate till coyote inspected it himself. Then he was just standing there burnt and charred looking a fool.

  3. Lombardi does sling a lot of bullshit, and it is difficult to listen to when the team is losing like this. It also mystifies me that Murray–who is not at all new to NHL coaching–is not smart enough, sophsiticated enough, or whatever adjective you choose, to adapt his “system” to the players he has or how the NHL works these days…

    • Wasn’t Terry out of coaching for 7 years before Dean hired him? That is why Terry is out of touch with the post-lockout NHL. He’s never won anything either.

      Manchester made it to the playoffs last season and don’t seem to be struggling to make it again. They are a very young team too, yet they’ve already learned how to win?

      At least Loktionov is back with the team and Mitchell is back with Doughty. The lineup is getting closer to the one that went 12-3. Murray is running out of excuses…

      • Is Mark Morris (of the Monarchs) the answer? Can we send T-Mu to the AHL on a conditioning sting and call up Morris?

        • Who is he going to sting? Or did you mean stint :) I hear Morris is a jerk and not liked by the player and he is also pretty odd with line changes, etc. I still would take him as an interim.

  4. Right now, I would take John Stevens in the interim. He has head coached in the past, and surely must know more than one offensive system. I think they need a change behind the bench just to wake the boys up to the fact that the season is rapidly slipping away from them.

    • Defense should be better than last season. It’s not. Some have even taken a step backwards a little. Stevens is not the answer. He’ll just bring in more defense oriented schemes, and we’ll really be up the creak.

      If it happened I wouldn’t protest to much, but I wouldn’t be happy.

  5. I have no problem with what DL said. I even agree with most of it. What he did though was avoid talking about what his role is in stopping what’s going on with the teams inability to compete right now. Does he not have a role, and is as powerless as the rest of us?

    Waves had mentioned that the team was trying some new things on Hammonds blog. If TM is going to try to implement some changes, I hope it was because DL is making him. I don’t see TM being smart enough to figure that out himself. If not then DL should be hands on at some point, or all his hard work will go down the tubes.

    • Changes mean nothing to Terry. Changes are something that is constant. Nothing is given a chance to work. If his new offensive scheme doesn’t work on the first shift, he’ll scrap it. Murray is out of his f’ing mind. I have never seen or heard of an NHL coach who is this bipolar.

  6. “It’s not just to revisit history but to dissect bullshit.”

    Well put. You know that I’ve railed agaisnt it before, but the “stuff ” was pretty thick and smelly from that interview. Unfortunately, in their positions, Deb and EJ can’t ask the tough questions.

    The Bobby Clarke Worship was troubling, if for no other reason because Clarke was a classless goon. He was also a talented and relentless player, but a clasless goon nonetheless. So when I hear DL spew stuff like this its almost as if he is insulting us saying you fans dont know ****, and sjuince you dont pay me it doesnt matter what I spew out.

    The coming problem with that is, very soon, AEG is also likely to start asking whats wrong, and that same BS isnt going to cut it with Timmy and Uncle Phil

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