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Dean Lombardi: The Architect

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09-04-2012, 07:27 PM
  #1
Ziggy Stardust
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Dean Lombardi: The Architect

Wanted to share this article with the board:
http://www.thehockeypulse.com/buildi...gdom-la-kings/

It's a very lengthy read but it goes into detail on every transaction that Dean Lombardi made in his attempts to rebuild the Kings. Looking back, there were so many trying years that tested the fans' resolve and loyalty.

Right around the time the team was struggling in December, many fans (including myself) were calling for Dean Lombardi's head. He had to do something. He did so by hiring Darryl Sutter. I recall not many were enthused with the hiring, but there were some willing to give it a chance. As most of us already knew, Dean Lombardi wanted to bring Sutter back in a coaching role as far back as 2006. The Sutter hiring was probably the turning point for the Kings in 2012.

Personally, I can't believe it's been six years since Lombardi took control of the team. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago, then again, I think most of us have washed away the memories of Brian Willsie, Kyle Calder and Jason LaBarbera being members of the team.

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09-04-2012, 08:32 PM
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Great article! Thanks for posting it.

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09-04-2012, 09:04 PM
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Jason Lewis
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"The emergence of Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick can be explained as simple errors in arithmetic. Anomalies. They are remainder of a highly complicated formula for success."

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09-04-2012, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy Stardust View Post
Wanted to share this article with the board:
http://www.thehockeypulse.com/buildi...gdom-la-kings/

It's a very lengthy read but it goes into detail on every transaction that Dean Lombardi made in his attempts to rebuild the Kings. Looking back, there were so many trying years that tested the fans' resolve and loyalty.

Right around the time the team was struggling in December, many fans (including myself) were calling for Dean Lombardi's head. He had to do something. He did so by hiring Darryl Sutter. I recall not many were enthused with the hiring, but there were some willing to give it a chance. As most of us already knew, Dean Lombardi wanted to bring Sutter back in a coaching role as far back as 2006. The Sutter hiring was probably the turning point for the Kings in 2012.

Personally, I can't believe it's been six years since Lombardi took control of the team. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago, then again, I think most of us have washed away the memories of Brian Willsie, Kyle Calder and Jason LaBarbera being members of the team.
It shows you how far we have come.

I totally forgot about Wontsie.
I remember laughing that Calder was a fourth liner with the Ducks a year after he was a top six forward with the Kings and that was how far behind the Ducks we were at the time.
Armstrong was the guy you knew would show up every night and every shift.
**** Blake.
Cloutier refind how to suck.
Frolov and Cammy were the fan favorites.
Zeiler had that one good game.

Bringing in Scuds, Stoll, and Greene really turned the rebuild ar oul”joIyrènd. Getting Mitchell was like the first drink at home before you go out drinking. and then the Flyers and the meddling kids from Manchester took the party to another level.

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09-04-2012, 09:12 PM
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Julius Caesar Milan
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Great article! Thanks for posting it.
Please change your username to
Nefarious B.I.G.

Pretty please with a Stanley Cup on top!

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09-04-2012, 09:18 PM
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Ziggy Stardust
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It's nice that Dave Taylor left a parting gift for Lombardi. Although Quick and Kopitar never stepped foot on the ice nor were they contracted by the team when Taylor was still GM, he gave Lombardi those two important pieces (not to mention Dustin Brown as well).

It also helped that Lombardi parlayed some of Taylor's old acquisitions such as Tim Gleason (who I thought Taylor ripped off from Ottawa for Bryan Smolinski) and Eric Belanger and turned them into Jack Johnson, then turned him into a proven top six scorer in Jeff Carter.

Trying to think of what other Dave Taylor picks/players that Lombardi inherited then turned into something. I know that you could link the Cammalleri trade to Calgary with the Dustin Penner acquisition. Not sure of what others there are.

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09-04-2012, 09:37 PM
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That was a pretty flawless assessment. Bang on. Can't get much better than that. Thanks for pointing it out.

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"I think part of his game is he’s over aggressive at times, which I like. We’ll tame that. I’d rather tame a lion than paint stripes on the kitty cat." - Dean Lombardi discussing Brayden McNabb
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09-04-2012, 11:26 PM
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Very good read

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09-05-2012, 12:01 AM
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The funny thing about this is that the title misses the point of what Lombardi was trying to build: a perennial contender.

Winning a Stanley Cup one and done is nice. Real nice. But knowing that this team has a realistic shot at being a dynasty (in a salary cap era within which pretty much everyone has said it is impossible to build one) gives me the warm and fuzzies.

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09-05-2012, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy Stardust View Post
It's nice that Dave Taylor left a parting gift for Lombardi. Although Quick and Kopitar never stepped foot on the ice nor were they contracted by the team when Taylor was still GM, he gave Lombardi those two important pieces (not to mention Dustin Brown as well).

It also helped that Lombardi parlayed some of Taylor's old acquisitions such as Tim Gleason (who I thought Taylor ripped off from Ottawa for Bryan Smolinski) and Eric Belanger and turned them into Jack Johnson, then turned him into a proven top six scorer in Jeff Carter.

Trying to think of what other Dave Taylor picks/players that Lombardi inherited then turned into something. I know that you could link the Cammalleri trade to Calgary with the Dustin Penner acquisition. Not sure of what others there are.
No offense Ziggy, but I don't agree much with the premise Taylor left the Kings with Quick, Kopitar and Brown (Brown I do somewhat). There's simply no guarantee that those players would have turned out the way they did under the Taylor regime, especially Quick. I'm not saying they wouldn't, but we KNOW they turned out under the way DL and Co. handled them. I personally don't know if I believe Quick would be this dominate without Ranford to help guide him, and DL brought in Ranford. Let's not forget what our goaltending history was like under Taylor. The lone legitimate goalie he ever developed, Huet, was traded away and had his best success elsewhere. The rest are mixtures of Roman Cechmanek, Jason Labarbera, Steve Passmore and Stephane Fiset with a nice run of Felix Potvin inbetween.

I'm not trying to bash DT here, but all he did with those three players is draft them. Only one, Brown, played under Taylor's squad and it could be argued he was rushed to the show as well. There's not enough credit given to development around these boards, but that is just as big of an issue as drafting is in reality. Development under DT was pretty weak (some of that wasn't his fault I know, but it was still pretty weak). Under DL, it is much, much better.

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09-05-2012, 10:24 AM
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Julius Caesar Milan
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Originally Posted by kingsfan View Post
. There's not enough credit given to development around these boards, but that is just as big of an issue as drafting is in reality. Development under DT was pretty weak (some of that wasn't his fault I know, but it was still pretty weak). Under DL, it is much, much better.
There was a farmer, had a dog, ,and BINGO was his name-o.


Also this is an EXCELLENT article. I hope we see more stuff from Harry Ouzounian.

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09-05-2012, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsfan View Post
No offense Ziggy, but I don't agree much with the premise Taylor left the Kings with Quick, Kopitar and Brown (Brown I do somewhat). There's simply no guarantee that those players would have turned out the way they did under the Taylor regime, especially Quick. I'm not saying they wouldn't, but we KNOW they turned out under the way DL and Co. handled them. I personally don't know if I believe Quick would be this dominate without Ranford to help guide him, and DL brought in Ranford. Let's not forget what our goaltending history was like under Taylor. The lone legitimate goalie he ever developed, Huet, was traded away and had his best success elsewhere. The rest are mixtures of Roman Cechmanek, Jason Labarbera, Steve Passmore and Stephane Fiset with a nice run of Felix Potvin inbetween.

I'm not trying to bash DT here, but all he did with those three players is draft them. Only one, Brown, played under Taylor's squad and it could be argued he was rushed to the show as well. There's not enough credit given to development around these boards, but that is just as big of an issue as drafting is in reality. Development under DT was pretty weak (some of that wasn't his fault I know, but it was still pretty weak). Under DL, it is much, much better.
Right, but it was still DT and his staff who made the picks. Regardless of their development system and their philosophy, which caused them to be fired and replaced by Lombardi with an opposite view, they still identified the talent and had those three players stocked for the future.

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09-05-2012, 10:56 AM
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Thanks Ziggy for posting that link, ,this was a terrific piece of writing and esp for me, someone who only became a rabid Kings fan since June 23, 2011 when the Flyers made the mistake of trading Richards.

I like how the author went year by year, illustrating the draft choices, trades, hits and misses and how each choice was woven into what has become a championship tapestry.

But having read this and also a lot of Dean Lombardi interviews, one this that is clear is that developing and establishing a 'winning culture' was the most important thing to him. As each year passed and his young group of home grown players matured, he was seeking the right pieces that would compliment them. And he's done that now. A terrific young team that could become a dynasty. They have all the right pieces, stud young goalie, great defense with an elite young defender (one of the 2 best young Dman (along with Pietroangelo of the Blues IMO) in the game) And 2 stud young centers who can dominate 200 feet of ice better than just about any other dynamic center duo in the game. DL called them his four foundatoins (positionally) that he feels are required to contend and become champions for years.

But as good and talented as they were, without Sutter, I don't think they win the Cup. He was the catalyst, the motivator , the father that could both kick ass when needed and give the pat on the back. And eveyr player responded with enthusiam. THe biggest change for me was Doughty, from the beginning , Sutter would wrap his arms around Doughty after every shift, speaking directly to him. And it worked, I think it came to full fruition in the playoffs and CBA notwithstanding, that is the stud dman we'll see continue to grow and develop and be a beast.

This DL statement of Sutter and what he brought to the Kings is very true:

Quote:
I don’t care how good your players are, or whatever, you have to establish an identity and stand for something.”

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09-05-2012, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Telos View Post
Right, but it was still DT and his staff who made the picks. Regardless of their development system and their philosophy, which caused them to be fired and replaced by Lombardi with an opposite view, they still identified the talent and had those three players stocked for the future.
Oh I agree, and I'm not trying to bash on DT here. Thing is though some people seem to want to almost place DT on the same level as DL (not meaning Ziggy with that, just some people in general) all because of three draft picks, two of whom weren't even playing pro in North America when DL came on board.

Even in the article in this thread (great article overall btw), you have this comment on DT drafting Brown, Kopitar and Quick: "Dave Taylor had thus laid the foundation for the kingdom that would be completed by Lombardi in 2012."

I'd say those three draft picks maybe account for 10% of the Kings success at winning the cup. The reason I drop it down so much isn't because I'm saying those players had little impact on the playoffs, of course they did. Rather, I'm saying that all of the development and growth those players had under DL were far more important to their careers than simply being drafted. Being drafted is just the first step in the journey.

In my dealings with players over the years when I was a journalist (including for this site way back when) I'd say that the most difficult part is getting some players to be able to make a successful jump from amatuer player (in some cases, such as Quick's, not even a stand out junior) to sudden fame and fortune in the NHL. In Kopitar's case, that fame came literally over night, from european player and prospect to number one centre in the NHL making millions. Stuff like that can easy wreck a player.

I tip my hat to DT and his crew for drafting Brown, Kopitar and Quick, but not for their development, growth and eventual handling of arguably the three best performances by Kings players in the 2012 playoffs. That to me goes to DL and his group, and that's a much bigger piece than calling their name at the draft floor.

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09-05-2012, 11:43 AM
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THe biggest change for me was Doughty, from the beginning , Sutter would wrap his arms around Doughty after every shift, speaking directly to him. And it worked, I think it came to full fruition in the playoffs and CBA notwithstanding, that is the stud dman we'll see continue to grow and develop and be a beast.
Agreed. I think Sutter was HUGE for Drew.

Just look at what Dion Phaneuf did with Sutter behind the bench, and then where his career went after Sutter stepped up to the front office. He's only now starting to regain some of his luster.

Drew needed a guy like Sutter and hopefully by the time Sutter leaves, Drew will be mature enough to handle it all himself much better.

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09-05-2012, 12:54 PM
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I really think the most under appreciated people during the rebuild were Dan Cloutier and Marc Crawford. With the worst goaltending and coaching in Kings history, the Kings got a lot of good draft picks to play with.

If you need someone to sucks eggs, Cloutier and Craford are your men.

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09-05-2012, 01:33 PM
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I really think the most under appreciated people during the rebuild were Dan Cloutier and Marc Crawford. With the worst goaltending and coaching in Kings history, the Kings got a lot of good draft picks to play with.

If you need someone to sucks eggs, Cloutier and Craford are your men.


It was all a part of Lombardi's master plan. I won't forget Crawford using the likes of Raitis Ivanans, Scott Thornton, Kyle Calder and Brian Willsie as wingers for Kopitar in his first year in the NHL.

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09-05-2012, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Ziggy Stardust View Post


It was all a part of Lombardi's master plan. I won't forget Crawford using the likes of Raitis Ivanans, Scott Thornton, Kyle Calder and Brian Willsie as wingers for Kopitar in his first year in the NHL.
As long as we are in the spin zone, playing with Calder et al made Kopi be that much better! In all seriousness, I don't doubt that it did help in some way as he was forced to carry the play.

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09-05-2012, 03:57 PM
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Kyle Calder did have a sick preseason goal against Anaheim in 07

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09-05-2012, 04:45 PM
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Right, but it was still DT and his staff who made the picks. Regardless of their development system and their philosophy, which caused them to be fired and replaced by Lombardi with an opposite view, they still identified the talent and had those three players stocked for the future.
DT and his place as a King GM is an interesting thing. I agree with you for the most part, but I remember that for 3 consecutive years, the Kings drafted a player who really slipped in the draft. Brown, Tukonen and Kopitar. All 3 of those guys were rated more highly than when they were drafted, all things considered. I believe those threads still exist in the archive here when each was drafted. So you can say they were fortunate or scouted well, but I'd lean towards fortunate. Tukonen of course never panned out. But Quick, that was obviously a home run pick where I'd give the scouts full marks.

I do agree with others that the development is just as important if not more so than the drafting, and that's where the Lombardi system really excels. Brown should've never played his draft year. Ironically, the lockout really helped his development because he spent his entire second season in the AHL instead of the pressbox again.

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09-05-2012, 05:07 PM
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Kyle Calder did have a sick preseason goal against Anaheim in 07
I vaguely remember that. Care to remind us? Was it a tap in on a rush on a 2 on 1 or something? Partial breakaway?

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09-05-2012, 05:17 PM
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Ziggy Stardust
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I vaguely remember that. Care to remind us? Was it a tap in on a rush on a 2 on 1 or something? Partial breakaway?
I think it was a breakaway goal.

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09-05-2012, 09:30 PM
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Please change your username to
Nefarious B.I.G.

Pretty please with a Stanley Cup on top!
Well, I broke down and tried. However, it said I couldn't do it. Didn't meet "administrator standards." I tried "Nefarious_B.I.G." and "Nefarious B.I.G." and "Nefarious BIG" and "Nefarious_BIG."

In the words of Jim Fox, "Nothin happenen..."


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09-05-2012, 11:12 PM
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Really interesting read.

Not many assets were wasted in the rebuild. Even those that seem wasted (pick for Cammy>Teubert>Penner) turned out to have an impact. It was a perfect storm of awesomeness for once, rather than the old "If something can go wrong for the Kings, it will" we are used to.

One thing I would add to this is Lombardi is a straight shooter with his players. He doesn't sugar coat things, he is straightforward and tells them like it is. When he was meeting each player at the rally, you could see the sincerity and closeness he has with the players on this team. I'm a firm believer in if you want to get the most out of a person, tell him exactly what your expectations are. None of this "do your best" stuff, you give them a goal to reach.

We've heard about the culture and "right player" stuff ad-nauseum, but his ability to see past talent to see what makes a player tick is really impressive. I personally believe that the tightness of that room had a lot more to do with their domination this year than talent level. Those guys went to war for each other each and every game. There were off games by guys here and there, but I can't remember a single time where a player let up or wasn't tenacious on a play.

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09-05-2012, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
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I vaguely remember that. Care to remind us? Was it a tap in on a rush on a 2 on 1 or something? Partial breakaway?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy Stardust View Post
I think it was a breakaway goal.
He had two goals that game but it was a backhander that he put underneath the bar against Bryzgalov. It actually made TSN's top plays.

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