Robitaille talks NHL realignment and validation for Lombardi

Late yesterday we posted some thoughts from Luc Robitaille via the Marek and Wyshynski show on Fan 590 in Toronto. In the first article he talked about ‘Gretzky era’ Kings fans compared to today and explained why LA isn’t a basketball town, as some people think.

Now, let’s see what he had to say about GM Dean Lombardi and the NHL’s realignment plans.

– On if the Stanley Cup was validation for Lombardi and the player personnel staff: “Yeah, it was. Dean came in and had a lot of patience – and he always reminded everyone that you had to build it from within, you have to acquire as many great young players as you can and at some point we might need to add or to make the right move to add to those great young players. It’s kind of the funny because the team wasn’t actually playing very well last year, but internally, we had a lot of expectations on our team. I’m not sure the world of hockey had that many high expectations on us, but we did. So when he went out and made the trade for Jeff Carter, and obviously bringing up the kids Nolan and King, it made all the difference in the world. We became a bigger, faster team right away. But the fact that we added Jeff Carter kind of stabilized our top two lines, and everybody understood and knew their roles. That’s how we became a team fairly quickly. It was pretty amazing, but it’s been fun to see young guys like Kopitar and Brown, this is there team, and kind of seeing them grow up with us.”

– On the much talked about plans for realignment: “It’s definitely a little bit more fair for the west coast teams – because you don’t have to fly to Detroit as often, or Columbus as often, as maybe we’ve had to. But it’s probably really fair for Detroit and Columbus because suddenly their travel schedule will change tremendously. So we don’t mind it, even though we’re going to have to fly to Canada a lot more than we’ve had to the last few years. So it makes a big difference, when you have to go through customs you can add an hour to your travel time, especially on your way back, because we come back at night most of the time. So that changes everything, but we’re okay with it. I think the playoff format – I’m a big believer in giving teams a chance. You don’t want it to be where if one division is stronger than the other one, you don’t have a chance. I don’t think it’s fair. So I kind of like that a little bit. I wouldn’t even mind seeing in the future making it a little more like I had heard in the past, where there’d be a few more teams in the playoffs, and there’d be some kind of like mini two-out-of-three (series) before the next four-out-of-sevens would start. It just gives everyone a chance, maybe an extra three or four teams to get in. It just makes it a lot of fun for the fans.”

They talked about a ton of other topics on the show, including many memories from Robitaille’s playing days as well as current topics he deals with as the team’s President of Business Operations. Listen to the full interview here.

To see my comments on NHL realignment, click here – they were part of my weekly thoughts for last week.

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