Before Surly gets to the bottom 6 forwards, I will finish my portion of the season preview with the suits. They comprise of Dean Lombardi, Terry Murray and Jamie Kompon. I am skipping John Stevens because he hasn’t been with the team long enough for an evaluation.

As to each one, we will break this up into the following categories:

1. The most praise worthy parts of his performance last season.

2. The most disappointing parts of his performance last season, which we hope to see changed this one or the coming seasons.

3. If only he was…

4. The biggest challenges he has coming up.

5. My realistic expectations for him this season and beyond.

6. If he lost his job here, the job I wish the most for him.

Dean Lombardi

1. The most praise worthy parts of his performance last season.

In no particular order, the happy accident of not signing Ilya Kovalchuk (30% credit only, the remaining 70% going to Jay Grossman selling his client to Jeff Vanderbeek’s folly), the signing of Willie Mitchell (who became the glue to the defense), and the continued patience he displayed with our prospects, including but not limited to Brayden Schenn, who had an incredible year in Juniors as a result and raised his value to become worthy enough to land Mike Richards (a certain reader of ours just rolled his eyes).

2. The most disappointing parts of his performance last season, which we hope to see changed this one or the coming seasons

The inability to sign the big free agents. While avoiding Kovalchuk and Brad Richards are likely blessings in disguise both short and long-term, the LA Kings’ history of not signing the big UFAs is nothing new. Perhaps only winning will solve that problem.

3. If only he was…

Less obsessed with former Flyers. Sometimes, it works out. Sometimes, it’s just maddening.

4. The biggest challenges he has coming up.

Immediately, the biggest challenge is Drew Doughty and, to quote our reader Steve, his “asshole agent.” Fitting him under what Dean considers a manageable cap hit is proving far more difficult than expected. Over the course of the season, if Gagne and Williams cannot remain healthy or Penner reverts back to past form, we will have some serious holes in our top 6 and Dean doesn’t have the winger horses in the bottom 6 or among prospects to fill that void.

5. My realistic expectations for him this season and beyond.

He will sign Zach Parise. Book it…although I didn’t say when.

6. If he lost his job here, the job I wish the most for him.

GM of the Philadelphia Flyers. I like Dean. I want him to be happy.

Terry Murray

1. The most praise worthy parts of his performance last season.

During the regular season, what he was able to do with the defense. It is amazing to me how intricate and involved his defensive scheme is. This is clearly Terry’s greatest strength.

2. The most disappointing parts of his performance last season, which we hope to see changed this one or the coming seasons.

There are four: (1) His inability to lead the team through the playoffs. The team’s greatest strength, defense, became its biggest weakness in the post season. While a part of that was the loss of Kopitar, that is still an excuse and it was the coach’s job to adapt and get the most out of his players (and system) with the handicap. (2) His inflexibility on the 5 on 5 offensive scheme. Terry Murray has “talked” about change so he clearly understands the deficiencies in his own system but he simply doesn’t have the patience or acumen to implement it. I am leaning toward the former, more than the latter. Too often, his mentality appears to be, “if it doesn’t immediately work, revert back to the dump and chase, cycle and perimeter hockey. (3) The incessant and absurd line changes – that lightning in a bottle approach which is no approach at all. (4) Forcing talented offensive forwards who don’t come with a checking and grinding game out of their strengths and into a checking and grinding game, thereby neutralizing any effectiveness they may otherwise have. Square peg, round hole. He just didn’t get it last season.

3. If only he was…

Adaptable. This is his biggest weakness and is the foundation for all of the items listed in number 2. You know what they say about an old coach and new tricks.

4. The biggest challenges he has coming up.

Winning in the playoffs with this line up without adapting. It’s no longer about the regular season with the Kings and, while many have us pegged as contenders, I am asking whether we have the coaching to take us there.

5. My realistic expectations for him this season and beyond.

Bluntly, I don’t know. Today, if you asked me, “is Terry Murray the right coach for this team?” I would answer, “don’t know and leaning toward, no.” I am not certain Terry Murray will be the Kings’ coach at the start of the 2012-2013 season. We can hope for the best though, as I do.

6. If he lost his job here, the job I wish the most for him.

The Kings’ assistant coach, focusing on defense. I’m serious.

Jamie Kompon

1. The most praise worthy parts of his performance last season.

His thick skin. Either that or he doesn’t read the internet.

2. The most disappointing parts of his performance last season, which we hope to see changed this one or the coming seasons.

[Insert his job duties here]. Seriously though, I hear he may be one of the lower paid assistant coaches in the league. I have wondered if that is true or not and, if it is true, does the expression, “you get what you pay for”, apply?

3. If only he was…

Not the assistant coach of this team and most certainly not running the powerplay.

4. The biggest challenges he has coming up.

Not being himself.

5. My realistic expectations for him this season and beyond.

I expect more of the same from Jamie Kompon so it’s not even worth going there. Let’s change the question to what we “hope” for – he takes what he did last season, does not repeat it, somehow manages to do exactly the opposite and establishes a power play designed around puck possession away from the boards, players skating to the scoring areas, lateral passes and one time shots (I know, the nerve I have!) and ideally one whose entire plan is not to dump the puck, get the puck to the half-boards, eventually to the point and shots off shins, sticks and bodies that cause nothing more than a change of possession.

6. If he lost his job here, the job I wish the most for him.

Assistant coach, in charge of the powerplay…for the Anaheim Ducks.

GO KINGS!