I’m still seeing red. I thought I would calm down but last night’s loss was personal. It felt like one of those moments where I was on the ice and no matter how hard I worked, I just could not put it together. You try to limit those days and work hard in practice and in the gym but there are days and nights you just don’t have it and when you’re done, you’re exhausted. The L.A. Kings have had an exhausting season. It’s been a near exhausting three under Terry Murray and the Darryl Sutter’s era appears headed down the same path. I have exhausted my patience with Dean Lombardi.
The irony of all this is that I don’t want Rick Nash for the ransom he will command and I have made that plain. I would not be so arrogant as to call the opposing view (those that want him) stupid (and then claim I wasn’t calling them that, not that I am), but I just don’t see how Lombardi, as exhausting as his stony style may be, could so boldly do something that creates another mouth at the exact location of his ass.
Then I get a text from a friend telling me that Trent Hunter has been waived, which is a prelude to a move…and I read reports that Jack Johnson is “in play”. And then I think maybe all of these years I have listened to Dean Lombardi, I should not have been looking below his nose and above his chin but lower and behind him.
An “L.A. Kings tattoo” is it?
A “commitment to fitness”?
Building “from the back-end, out”?
“Patience” with defensemen?
“Defense wins championships”?
Does any player exemplify those 5 qualities more than Jack Johnson? Be critical of his mistakes on the ice. I will give you that. But is there a player that wears the tattoo more (negotiated his own contract, took a reasonable cap hit and signed long-term), is more committed to fitness (outside of Jonathan Quick, the best athlete on the team), represents the back-end (a top draft pick, young defenseman who comes with world-class genetics and has the potential of being one of the best in the game as he matures), has earned that need for patience (as he continues to tune his defensive acumen to balance out his offensive instincts and skill) and represents the mantra of defense winning championships.
You don’t even have to be a Jack Johnson fan to agree with me – you just have to agree that he represents what Dean Lombardi has preached about his philosophy and core belief system.
If Jack Johnson is part of a package for a one-dimensional (but damn talented) sniper like Rick Nash, Dean Lombardi should take his hockey soul and burn it. You can lie to others I suppose and live with yourself but you cannot lie to yourself without ripping your soul apart, horcruxes notwithstanding. Do not tell me this is a business. Do not tell me there are no loyalties in sports. Do not tell me that intangibles don’t matter. You are only telling me your own perspective. Tell me what you have heard Dean Lombardi state about his perspective, about his valuation of character above all, of honor, of loyalty or a commitment that “builds a culture” within a franchise.