Does Dean Lombardi Care About Winning Above All Else?
Dean Lombardi loves the Yankees or at least he loves to talk about the Yankees.
How many times have we read or heard his quotes equating something hockey related to baseball and the Yankees. I got to thinking about that tonight. I got to thinking about the Yank of all Yankees, George Steinbrenner. George once said:
Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next.
Does Dean Lombardi agree with this? My initial answer was…I don’t know. You’ve probably seen our Quotable Lombardi page. It’s under Surly & Scribe features at the top of this site. It’s a collection of his quotes from April 2006 through the present day. We think we got most of them. He said this in December 2011:
You never see exactly what your coach sees, but for the most part, I think it’s safe to say that with the expectations this year, it becomes more result-orientated. I guess, again, this goes back to (a previous) question. Every situation is different, and the challenge for a coach, as well as players, when you have expectations it’s driven more to results. It’s harder, at times, to look for those victories within losses. That’s just the state of the franchise right now. You could look for more of those things three years ago, but we’re trying to push to the next level. And it isn’t easy. It’s a lot easier playing with the house’s money. So I think, to answer your question, you’re never going to see things exactly (the same) but I do think we’re at the stage of the franchise where you’re going to be judged on wins and losses and playoff rounds. And that’s where you strive to be. It’s a lot easier when there’s no expectations, and with every win you can get a parade. We’re not there right now, so it comes down to wins and losses.
To put it in context, he was asked whether he saw the team “compete” like Terry Murray claimed it was doing.
The thing that jumps out at me is this part: “I do think we’re at the stage of the franchise where you’re going to be judged on wins and losses and playoff rounds. And that’s where you strive to be.”
Strive to be? What the hell did Dean Lombardi think he was being judged on since April of 2006? His word count?
In fact, when you look up and down the Quotable Lombardi page, you don’t really see much of anything about “winning” and the importance of it. Instead, you read a lot of words about character, attitude, competitiveness and intangibles. But “winning” for some reason doesn’t enter Dean Lombardi’s mind or exit his mouth. This also hit me when I read Helene Elliott put this in a tweet a couple of days ago (I have yet to see the tweet by the way as a reader forwarded this in a comment):
When i talked to him monday he was already talking about next season and cap space he gains July 1 to make moves. draw your own conclusion.
I admit to having a what the fuck moment but, again, it didn’t quite register why this bothered me until tonight.
Next season? Cap space on July 1? Okay, I get it, that’s important too but shouldn’t he be absorbed with winning this season? I think that is what “draw your own conclusion” implies.
If I am the GM of the L.A. Kings (for which I am eminently qualified), I am thinking about one thing every minute of every day – winning the Stanley Cup. That’s it. Nothing else enters my mind. Every word I speak is with the goal. Every action I take, directive I give, move I make is to further that intent. I care about winning because that is my job. It isn’t to “compete”, “build character”, “gain a moral victory”, or any other bullshit. It is to kick my opponent’s teeth in and win a Cup. Does Dean Lombardi think like that? Or does he think he is the smartest man in the room? You know what happens when you sit around planning so that one day you can make winning your priority? You lose.