I don’t know the man on a personal level but I think I’m a fairly good judge of character. I have listened to him, watched him, spoken with him and I get the sense Dean Lombardi is an obsessively hard-working guy…one of those guys whose brain won’t shut off. The type where he could be in a discussion with his wife about dinner or her day, but he doesn’t hear a thing she says because his mind is formulating how to improve the team. “Scribe, you just described me!” I can hear you say. Shut up and pay attention.

Dean has a problem, a dilemma of sorts. Now that the forwards are forechecking, the passers are passing, the hitters are hitting and the goal scorers are scoring, he sees the potential for another run…not some vague “we’re the defending Stanley Cup Champions and we want to win another” but an objective, palpable opportunity to take another run at the Cup. Winning has a funny way of turning fuzzy mental pictures into a perceived reality.

“So what’s the problem?”

It’s more of a dilemma.

I think he knows what I know and what you know if you know what I know which he knows, if you know what I mean.

The chances of repeating without at least one veteran defensive defenseman to replace either Mitchell or Greene is not great. Dean doesn’t want to have to rely on Muzzin or Ellerby in the playoffs and you know that I know that you know and he knows…crap, I lost track…regardless, you damn well know that the line between winning and losing is a not big one and having that crease clearing, reliable rock on defense can make the difference between a wonderful W or a wrist slitting L.

But for who…for who, who, who does he trade? Gagne is gone (hey Surly, let me know when you want the “I told you so” speech I promised you when we first signed him). Hello, cap space. That opens up options, eh? A rental? But one who can be re-signed if the circumstances require it? I am glad you asked.

Ron Hainsey.

“Who?”

Seriously…

He is a beauty.

A Winnipeg Jet. Out of the cold and into the beautiful 72 degree Southern California weather. 6’3″, 210 pound veteran, gobbles up minutes, blocks shot, reliable on D, left hander, can kill penalties AND Hainsey is a UFA at the end of the season. We can re-sign him if Mitchell or Greene are still not back. He is valuable and expendable at the same time. What will he cost to acquire? Not much. Picks, a small package that we won’t miss. Hopefully a bidding war won’t start for him but if the Jets are outside looking in, I think Hainsey is an L.A. King.

“Jeez Scribe, you sound confident.”

Do I?

Do I sound confident?