Hammond recently gave us another C- interview, this time with Dean Lombardi. You may recall I hold a Doctorate in Lombardi Speak so I thought I would navigate us through.

I asked Lombardi whether the dynamics of the deadline will allow the Kings to significantly improve…

LOMBARDI: “As the season moves along, people have a better handle on which direction they want to go.

There are buyers and sellers

There’s two things that can happen. One, obviously, is a team just strictly downsizing, like we did five years ago, and just saying, `Let’s get picks.’

There are sellers who are rebuilding.

Secondly, you might have a philosophical change and just say, `It’s not a downsizing, per se, but we want a change to change the structure of our roster.’ So it’s not a rental, per se. It’s different.

There are sellers who are not rebuilding.

I think, as the deadline gets closer, it’s not about the deadline. It’s that more teams realize what they have or don’t have.

As the season wears on, teams figure out which one of the two sellers they are or whether they are buyers.

They take into consideration how many injuries they have, and say, `If we get guys back, we’re OK,’ or they say, `We’ve got to look at upgrading our back end.’ And the rentals are always going to be there.

The bubble teams either hold the course because they can navigate through it or they try to upgrade and find a rental. (Note here that the “back end” reference is just an example he uses. He could have spoken of any upgrade there)

“The question about the rentals is just the price. If you look back, and you take all the deadline deals — just look at them and line them up — you’ve got all kinds of juice on deadline day, but how many of them have really effected the team?

Whether a buying team goes for a rental depends on what they are giving up. Look at most rentals. Although there is a lot of action on deadline day, few acquisitions have been impact players in the short-term or long.

There’s this perception of all this juice and action, then you look at what really happens.

Fans and media think that teams are one player away, but rarely does it work that way.

Last year, arguably, we got one of the top players. How many players had average 25 goals? That was, `Wow, that was a big deal.’ In terms of the rentals, that’s always going to be there.

We thought we did great with Penner. And offensive players, to varying degrees, are generally there for the taking as rentals.

As a practical matter, we don’t have a second and a third (round draft picks). Manchester is still a very young team, but you always have to be cognizant that (new) guys are coming through.’’

But we also gave up picks. And this year, we don’t have a lot of picks to give for a rental. So, we look at Manchester and also ask ourselves whether we have players coming in next year that are going to fill the need we are considering filling with the rental.

(note that Dean really didn’t answer Rich’s question but Hammond doesn’t follow up on the initial question he asked. Why? Watch what Rich asks next.)

Question: So, as you look at it, it’s still a matter of finding the right fit?

(This question qualifies as a “I have no idea what you just said, so I am going to fall back on this ‘fit’ thing I have heard you talk about before until I figure out what to ask you next”)

LOMBARDI: “It’s being cognizant of knowing what we’ve got coming and knowing what we’ve got now.

If we are going to get a rental player, we have to be cautious depending on the rental’s contact, especially if we have that same style player coming up through the system.

It’s knowing who we’ve got coming and who is going to help this team next year, and making (a potential move) fit with that.

(Damn Rich’s parentheses)

If a rental replaces that player coming up with his contract and takes that coming player’s spot or stifles us cap wise, it won’t work.

With a rental, you can say, `I don’t care if it doesn’t fit with these kids that are coming,’ but with other (trades), it’s, `OK, let’s trend this way.’’’

(Well, there is that parentheses again from Hammond substituting his own words for that of the interviewee. If I take “trades” on face value, the last quote means)

That’s the difference between a rental player who is just here for this season and one with a contract you keep. If we are keeping the contract, then we have to look closely at the kids coming up from Manchester because it’s no longer just a rental, it’s a real trade.

Question: But how patient can you afford to be? What if the only real option is a player who doesn’t necessarily “fit’’ with other things?

LOMBARDI: “I don’t have a problem with that. But as far as what’s out there, it’s like I said. There are probably seven or eight out there, but out of them, the ones that will be there as rentals, one of them will probably hit. Those are usually the ones that go to a really good team and don’t have to carry the mail.’’

I don’t have a problem bringing in a short-term impact player that won’t necessarily fit in the long-term and who is a pure rental. But there are only 7 or 8 of those types of impact players out there and out of all of them who may be out there, you may only see 1 of them traded and that type of impact player typically goes to a top team in the league who is making a Cup run.

(This is Lombardi telling everyone that the Kings are not that team)

That is the end of the Lombardi Speak lesson.