Panic is a poor catalyst for decision.
Under most circumstances and almost without exception, it is a bad idea to sell a good stock when its value is low.
I was told yesterday that if you take the last four seasons in aggregate, the L.A. Kings are 30th in 5 on 5 goals per game. I have not verified it but if it is not 30th, it must be close. That isn’t coincidence and, contrary to urban legend, offense doesn’t come to L.A. to die.
You currently have Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Justin Williams, Mike Richards, Jarret Stoll and Dustin Penner falling below their career averages in goals and points. Simon Gagne was headed there before his head got in the way and ended his season prematurely.
Can the team wide illness be fixed by excommunicating one or more players from the roster and replacing him or them with others?
What happens when you bring a healthy person into a sick room?
Ask Dustin Brown who is allegedly ill and missed practice today. Jarret Stoll apparently got him sick. No truth to the rumors that Stoll was sickened as a result of another Drew Doughty reach around gone bad. The point is there are too many things going and gone wrong on offense over too long of a period among too many players for this to fall in the category of a “slump.” Then again, you could argue “look at the Ducks.” They were all but destined to go down in a heap of feathered flames this season but they have made an iniquitous turnaround. It’s nearly a carbon copy of what the New Jersey Devils almost did last season. But it’s not just this season with the L.A. Kings. It’s four of them combined. It’s a sick house or, if you prefer, a structure.
Enter the architect. Dean Lombardi.
I won’t take you through the road that brought us here. We have talked about it, together, at length. But I ask that you think about a trade for a second, a major one. What does it really state? To me, it states Dean Lombardi doesn’t know what he is doing. This is the team he wanted just as Terry Murray and Darryl Sutter were and are the coaches he placed in position to teach and run the household. He built it or maintained the player pieces from the last administration he believed worthy. Nobody forced his hand to do anything. His failures were and are his own. The L.A. Kings’ consistent failure to compete offensively with other teams is his own. Just as it was in San Jose, Dean Lombardi was not able to take the Sharks to the next level, to make them a contender, a legitimate one. That is not to say he didn’t do good things there. He did just as he has done here. But the ownership in San Jose stopped trusting him. They did not believe he should be given further discretion. Thereafter, the Sharks have found success.
Do you trust Dean Lombardi to make trades? To blow this up? To tear the house down and start over? Do you want to give Dean Lombardi any further discretion?
There is the question of “but who would replace him?” I haven’t thought that one through enough. I suggested a name to Surly a couple of days ago but it needs to percolate. It isn’t Luc. That issue is beyond the scope of this article. What is within the scope is trust. Between now and then, I ask again – do you trust the architect?