Thursday brought a plethora of comments from Kings GM Dean Lombardi, new Assistant GM Rob Blake and team captain Dustin Brown.
Guess what though? There’s still more!
This article will round out the thoughts shared by Lombardi. It’s the final set of quotes from his conference call with the media, where he talked more about the Brown contract extension.
- On Brown acting as his own agent in negotiating his new extension:
“It’s a little different because the player is by nature, competitive. You have to be careful. That said, it was kind of nice to get to the point (where) you didn’t have to get into that stuff, ‘I’m better than him, I’m not better than him’ and all that. It actually is kind of refreshing to look at a player and look him in the eye. Actually, you’re almost more on guard NOT to take advantage of the situation because he’s trusting you. I really like the fact that, (the) discussion was as much about the team and how he’s the captain and how he works from a team perspective than it was about what he thought he was worth. That shows he’s working with the team. That’s always the problem when you get in these cap (situations)… you have a good group, you like it here, you have a chance to win. Unfortunately, that’s what caps have you do. If you don’t want to recognize it, it makes it awfully tough. I don’t know, it was interesting. Jack Johnson too was kind of similar, there. You’d be surprised how smart these guys can be, I know they don’t get a lot of credit for their brains, but I was also pretty impressed by the way he handled it and his ability to, I don’t want to say argue, but he definitely did some analytics and he didn’t back down. In a way, that’s pretty refreshing.”
- On Brown’s growth since being drafted in 2003:
“That’s the thing about Brown. You talk about the growth, it’s been two-fold, not only as a player but clearly as a person. I always tell this story, the first day he sat across from me when I got the job he couldn’t put two words together. I think he was almost gun shy because, it was well known that wasn’t exactly a great locker room for a young player to come into. So, it’s a very different atmosphere now when a Toffoli or Vey comes in, in terms of how they are treated compared to some of the things that were going on with Brownie. When you look back at those days, the one thing I always said about him that was very clear to me – I wasn’t sure exactly what we had, but the one thing was very caring. I always say, if you have that in place, you have a chance. You hear about all the right things, he just needed a path to get to where he wanted to go and also surround him with players that would guide him along the way and then compliment him. His evolution, he grows up right in front of you.
“If you want to talk about growth, here’s a guy sitting across from me seven years ago who wouldn’t say two words who is now sitting across from me doing his own contract that set him up for life. So, the human experience is incredible. I think his leadership also – and like I told him, I don’t think he’s done yet, in terms of his growth. He freely admits at times during this past season even, where as the leader of this team, he has to do more. Again, that’s a sign of growth. He’s not looking at this like, ‘I’m the captain I should be getting all this money, I’m great.’ He’s looking at it like, ‘I have to be better here if we’re going to do this again.’ That’s another sign of growth. I guess this is one sport in the end, where this a role model. It’s not their athletic ability that transcends the sport onto young people. It’s about things like this, about getting better everyday and growing as a person and realizing that other people next to you are more important than yourself. All those qualities that make you a role model were on display. It’s not your athletic ability, it’s these type of things.”
- On how much satisfaction he gets in signing another core player to a long-term contract:
“It’s kind of part of the process, right? It’s not only building it, it’s trying to keep it together and stay under the cap. That’s an organizational thing that we set out to do seven years ago. You’re never done. It wasn’t just about becoming a good team it was doing these type things so that you could, in the end, build a culture, have an identity. Particularly in the cap era, that’s incredibly difficult. With players moving around like musical chairs and things, like caps seem to do, it’s very difficult to get their identity and culture that stands for something. The only way to do it is like that, to just provide stability within the organization, they still make their mistakes and grow from them. And then the next group, like Toffoli and Vey and these kids come in and see it, now it just perpetuates itself. That’s one of the challenges of the cap. When you say satisfying, you kind of beat that part of the system that basically encourages players to move around and not have that attachment to a team, it’s essentially what the system does. You’re trying to trump that when you’re able to keep your players locked up and fit them under the cap. That’s part of the job. The biggest thing you have though, and this is a tribute to players – whenever you’re going to do a long term deal like this, whether it’s Mike Richards or Carter, there’s risk. The obvious risk is injury, that goes without saying. That can happen any time.
“You have to really trust the character of your players. They’re inherently competitive and they’re not going to get complacent. Whether it’s Doughty or Kopitar or Quick or Richards or Carter, and now Brownie, I am 100% that there is not going to be complacency in these kids. That’s the least of my worries. As long as they continue to train, knock on wood stay healthy, I don’t have problems with long-term deals. You see what Slava Voynov went through to prove how much he wanted to play here. The money he turned down in Russia to stay here and didn’t even give it the time of day, you feel pretty good to get him locked up when they care about the right things. That’s probably the best thing, we have a group of players… and it’s satisfying to see athletes like this who care about what’s right.”
If you missed any of the earlier quotes posted from Lombardi, Blake and Brown, see the links below. There’s quite a bit worth checking out.
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