Dean Lombardi’s Next Coaching Mistake Will Be His Last

(Colleen De Neve/Postmedia News)

If this is the mug of the next L.A. Kings coach, then Dean Lombardi better be prepared for his own exit in 2012, likely before we reach the month of April. In such a case, I hope he likes coincidences and ironies because, when his legacy as a G.M. is written, it will be with the inescapable theme that he didn’t learn a damn thing from his days in San Jose.

I tell myself that Dean Lombardi cannot be that obtuse.

He cannot possibly replace Terry Murray with Terry Murray.

He cannot fire a defense first – defense last coach for a defense first coach – defense last – nothing but defense coach.

I tell myself these things but there is a sick feeling in my stomach this is more likely than not going to occur – that I will be sitting at work or home and I will read from Helene Elliott or Lisa Dillman or one of Bob McKenzie or in-the-know peeps that Darryl Sutter has been hired as the Los Angeles Kings coach. About the only thing I am certain of is I won’t read it from the “Insider” Rich Hammond first, who treated us earlier today with a “there is zero indication that any coaching change is on the horizon today.”

Terry Murray’s firing was the direct result of one or a combination of the following:

1. Dean Lombardi’s will and want;

2. Tim Leiweke’s pressure on Dean Lombardi;

3. Dean Lombardi’s perceived lack of options.

There are arguments for each. From the “leak” to Lombardi’s statements to Hammond, one could speculate whether this move was one Dean wanted or was forced to make. Nothing will make that more clear than the next hiring.

If Dean Lombardi comes in with an old school coach who has won nothing in his entire coaching career, whose resume is riddled with 1st and second round defeats and one Stanley Cup appearance and who is, by all reasonable deductions, out of touch with today’s game, he will take this team right to San Jose, circa 2003. History will repeat itself. He will alienate the players who, by one of their own admission, were dead. Rather than see the landscape for what it is, a team stifled by a coach that refused to infuse any reasonable offensive structure designed to score goals, Lombardi will simply pile onto them. “You thought you had it bad with Murray, heeeeere’s Darryl.”

He cannot be this obtuse.

He cannot possibly replace Terry Murray with Terry Murray.

He cannot fire a defense first – defense last coach for a defense first coach – defense last – nothing but defense coach…

…I tell myself again.

I remind myself that Tim Leiweke, although he knows little about hockey, would step in and say no. I tell myself this is crazy. Six years, Lombardi has seen what it takes in this new NHL to win. How could any reasonable person believe Sutter is the answer to what ails this team. This is just a bunch of speculation. Dean Lombardi will not hire Darryl Sutter. Nobody in their right mind who wants to win would hire Darryl Sutter to coach in this league. Then I realize Lombardi has talked repeatedly of his “short list” of replacements. A short list does not imply change, it does not imply an open mind, it does not imply bucking any trends. A short list can be one name. It implies pain.

If this happens, know this. Neither hell nor a woman hath the fury that this 31 year Los Angeles Kings fan will manifest for our general manager if I see that face or anyone like him behind the L.A. Kings bench.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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25 replies

  1. He can’t? You’d best hope he can’t. I never imagined myself trying to find another team to root for (the Kings will always be my first team come what may), but the off-season would become my season of preference and the hockey season something I have to deal with.

    It’s bad enough already watching the Rangers (who everyone said Brad Richards made a mistake going to) beat up on a lot of teams….. score short handed goals, and be guided by a tremendous leader in Ryan Callahan. And of course, somehow, someway their lousy gm found players like Anisimov and Stepan who play like A) they love the game – B) they’re having fun and C) they’re actually forwards who came out of nowhere who are actually capable of putting the puck in the net.

  2. I don’t care what Rich says. I don’t think it will be Sutter. I like that he holds players accountable but more D does not sound like what a smart guy like Lombardi is looking for. He knows next step is him. I think we might get a surprise. If it was Sutter he would have already been hired.

  3. My vote would be to let Stevens coach out the year and try to get Tippet in the offseason. This could really be DL’s last shot and he’s gotta get it right. Can’t really go wrong with DT. Second choice would be Granato. He’s most likely soaked up some of that Bylsma magic.

    Pipe dream would be Kings offering Scotty Bowman a stupid amount of money to coach the Kings.

    • It’s an interesting point. Hang on to the interim if the guy you want isn’t available yet. Certainly don’t want I settle for someone he wants less than someone else. I would love to have Tippett here, but I hope we can pry away someone like Granato or an AHL coach ready to make the next step.

      • Yeah don’t grab somebody for the sake of getting somebody.
        Get the “right guy”

        I know Bowman probably will never coach again but hey
        I can dream right?

        The guy we should really get is Laviolette but obviously he aint goin anywhere.

    • You’re right on the first part (let Stevens be the interim for rest of the year). Not so sure about the pipedream though. He was either coach or gm (gm I think) in Buffalo and you know how that turned out. And I doubt he still has the fire.

      He’s won everything you can win.
      There are young coaches out there who have the stuff. Of that I have absolutely no doubt. The issue is that DL has to A) be open to one and then B) find the right one.

    • Tippet. There is my wet dream.

    • Tippett is signed until 2013. I don’t expect him to quit.

      If Dean hires Sutter, I will be sick. I remember being so happy when Crawford was fired and crushed when Murray was hired.

      Dean can’t do it again, can he? Crush the dreams of Kings fans again? I don’t even want to think about it.

  4. Saw Barry Melrose’s comments on tv. He thinks Daryl Sutter would be a good fit as he’d demand that guys play hard every night.
    Well I’m reassured now.

    Mike Richards would always play hard no matter what. You can see that. But if you’re a professional, and you have any pride, never mind that you’re being paid millonS of dollars to do your passion…. who can really be bothered to play hard? That’s what I wanna know. I thought the idea was that you get paid to do a country club sorta thang.

    That clearly irks me as I’m sure you can tell.

  5. Is it just me or does that picture look like a Terry Murray + Bill Murray lovechild. I think that says all you need to know.

  6. Jesus, did you see the stupid ass poll Hammond put up?

    Who should coach the Kings?
    John Stevens * Darryl Sutter * Mark Morris * A young coach, even one without NHL experience * An older coach with NHL experience

  7. Terry Murray, before becoming Kings’ coach:

    360-288-89, .549 in 737 regular season games
    46-43, .517 in 89 playoff games
    one Conference Championship

    Darryl “Bitter Beer Face” Sutter, right now:

    407-343-110, .537 in 860 regular season games
    47-54, .465 in 101 playoff games
    one Conference Championship

    … It’s eerie, the similarity between these two.

    Imagine Terry Murray, but a little younger, a little more experienced, with a little less success. That’s Darryl Sutter.

    This whole thing is so priceless. Remember the scene in the movie “Ghost” when Swayze sings “I am Henry the 8th, I am”? “Second verse, same as the first!” I want to laugh so hard when Dean announces the “new head coach, same as the old head coach”. I want to laugh, but I’ll die a little on the inside.

    I hope Dean surprises me. Go off the board a little bit. What’s Butch Goring up to these days? I think he’s a color commentator for the Isles, right? How about Igor Larionov? Bar none, the most intelligent player I’ve ever seen in my life not named Gretzky. How about Michel Therrien? It’s a crime he hasn’t been picked up by someone yet. There are plenty of good candidates without resorting to the clone of the man you just fired.

    • I think you’ve got the wrong song and the wrong group….. it’s more apropos The Who “Won’t Get Fooled Again”…..
      ‘Meet the new boss’…. ‘Same as the old boss’….. (insert Pete’s pinwheels here).

      Then if Lombardi actually does it, you can change Daltrey’s ‘yeaaaaaaaaaah’ into ‘noooooooooo’.

      As for Goring… hell of a hockey player, just like Gretz was one hell of a hockey player. Possibly the best ever.
      I’ll leave it at that.
      When DL goes off the board, it seems to be to get draft picks that one wouldn’t have thought of. That’s more his style. Unfortunately. I wish it was reversed.

  8. Reason number 9,321,681 why people from California should not be hockey fans. It amazes me that you people do not have jobs in the hockey world (eyes rolling). It also amazes me that the Kings do not recognize this as an affiliated site (eyes still rolling). Than they would have a great example of why their fan base is failing. Its because the smart ones shut their mouths and the stupid ones publish their thoughts on the internet and no one respects a team whose fans are borderline retarded.

    1.) Before you quote “stats” learn how to be well rounded in doing so.
    2.) There is no “new nhl” stop whining. Its the same NHL The kings are an undisciplined lazy team who, yes, need offense but need someone who will kick their ass, not coddle them and teach them what defense is.
    3.)It is the mistake of an uneducated mind that thinks a young coach is the answer to every failing teams prayer. Case in point-Phoenix Coyotes.
    3.)Do not hack on legacies. There is a reason Sutter still gets offered jobs, if indeed he ends up here. It is because he is smart and effective.
    4.)QUIT WHINING- Dean Lombardi obviously ALSO knows what he’s doing considering he still has a job despite the lack of effort of the entire roster. This kind of laziness and lack of spirit can be blamed only on the shoulders of the players. Unfortunately tyou cannot fire an entire team, so “hockey fans” such as yourself blame a coach, or an assistant instead laying the blame where it belongs. Don’t forget that these players are professional athletes and even if they struggle under their leadership they should still be able top play like professional athletes. Unlike these players.

    • Not recognized as an affiliate site?

      Listed not once, but twice. Kings don’t have bloggers as affiliate sites, unless you count the Insider… But they own that site, so erm, duh. They do have their pets, Frozen Royalty and Mayors Manor who have media access but still manage to have a smaller readership than we do.

      I’m shocked that you would be shocked that two writers who work in law and TV don’t have jobs in the hockey world.

  9. I’ve been a long suffering King’s fan since 1979, and just like all of my relatives, the Kings have never failed to disappoint me… But, alas…

    I have finally realized that there are 5 Simple Things that need to be done for the Kings to win the Stanley Cup:

    1) Change their coach
    2) Change their General Manager
    3) Change every player except for Richards, Voynov and Quick (yes, I am saying fuck Kopitar, Doughty and every other lazy asshole on the current team, enough waiting for them to “develop” – if these assholes were the angels of death no one would ever fucking die!)
    4) Change the ownership – fucking Anschutz lives in Denver, has admitted to being an Avalanche fan and has not allowed his photo to be used in the King’s programs or media guides – what does that fucking tell you?!)
    5) change their team name – I’m sorry but with a name like Kings you are just pissing into the face of fortune and daring it to shit all over you. How about The LA Drive-By’s or The LA Freeway Stranglers or the The LA Road-Ragers, or the LA Smog – much less arrogant than The Kings and a lot more intimidating).

    Unless all of these things are done, we will never see the cup in this city. Ever.

  10. This is right on. Sutter would mean the end of the DL’s job. Hey, at least we’d get a high draft pick? Oh, wait …the Kings draft history is so great: Hickey? Storr? Duncanson? (I could go on, but I won’t)

  11. OK, Here is what I need to know, cause unfortunately I think its headed that direction.

    Who is coming up on RFA or UFA status? Because we are likely to lose them, I do not see anyone wanting to stick around.

    HOPEFULLY they give him a short try out contract. But knowing sutt and DL have a past, they are probably trying to pull a last stand, they both know it is make or break.

    I feel this will drive a lot of guys away. I feel the players will tune out the organization, then the fans will revolt. god forbid we lose the team.

    If we lose the Kings, I am done with hockey.

    What Sutt is going on with my team, my faith is at an all time low. Everything looks dicey. Wonder if we get a discount on Prozac.


  1. Hockey Blog Beat – December 13, 2011. | Spectors Hockey

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