Rob Blake – hoping third time is a charm, ready for new chapter


Below are the full comments from Rob Blake’s call with the media earlier today, following the announcement that he’d been hired as the LA Kings new Assistant General Manager…

[note: There is a small portion, maybe less than one minute, missing from his opening remarks. We’ll fix it later this afternoon.]

– Opening comments: “On a nightly basis we were watching the games and became very familiar with the players on all the teams. Understanding that transition will be good. But also one of the benefits working with the league was attending GM meetings and attending Board of Governors meetings and kind of understanding the game from a different perspective after I retired. All those things for the past few years that I’ve been with, with the NHL and the player’s safety will be a benefit.”

- On if this was something he aspired to be or the opening just happened:

“I think I’ve always wanted to be involved in management sometime down the road. I was never really sure on what capacity. Right when I retired, the opportunity to work for the league with Brendan [Shanahan]…it came up real quick, and was a great transition to start understanding all the management and I think in the back of my mind I always hoped to get into a spot there with the team sometime down the road. Like I said, things kind of progressed pretty quick early this week and being able to step into the situation that Dean has built here and obviously the success they’ve had the best few years, they have everything working in the right manner and going forward. For me, hopefully it will be an easier transition to kind of come in and jump into it right away.”

On what his new responsibilities will entail (including GM of Manchester):

“Yes. I think that will be obviously one of the responsibilities will have to do with Manchester with the farm team. Also, probably on a day-to-day basis, just learning everything. I’ve had lots of talks here with Dean lately on the structure of his staff and how things will go forward. But yeah, you’re correct, one of the main objectives will be watching Manchester.”

- On any challenges he can foresee in taking this new job:

“It’s definitely a challenge. As far as the personal throughout the league, I think I’ve stayed pretty familiar, like I said earlier, with the job I had and paying attention to the games and that. A lot of my perspective on the game is what I’ve gone through over 20 years as a player. I don’t think a lot of that changes the past few years, I can still have these conversations with the players and understand that I’ve been through situations and that. As far as scouting and the amateur and the pro and the development and everything, it’s all fairly new to me- I’ve probably been involved in it for 20 years without really understanding it all that well. Like I said, it’s definitely a transition and a great learning experience.”

- On any feelings he had watching the Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2012:

“I’m sure it would have been great to be involved, but the good thing for me was just seeing that that was attainable here. For a lot of years, you weren’t too sure. To see how Dean came in and transformed the organization and took it to it’s highest plateau ever and ultimately winning the Stanley Cup. I think the best thing about that is that now that all becomes the standard- not just making the playoffs or not making the Stanley Cup finals, but winning the cup is the standard. It’s great to be apart of that going forward.”

- On how his relationship with Nelson Emerson (head of player personnel) should help the transition:

“We go back a long time, we grew up in the same hometown and spent time together in college and in the NHL. I’ve been real familiar with his development program the past few years with the Los Angeles Kings and you start to seeing it pay dividends over the past few years with the players that are in the lineup. I think he’s taken that to a whole new step and put a lot of involvement in it working with Dean and with the rest of the staff. Once they draft a player, they have a player in their organization, the development part of it is the most important. It’s great to see and it’s kind of nice because I’ve been very familiar with it. I’ve watched a lot of his camps and spent a lot of time with him the past few years. I’m kind of up to speed on what he’s doing with the development part of it.”

- Regarding thoughts on the Kings’ just completed season:

“I thought it was a tremendous year again. Very competitive, got things going after a little bit of a slow start. You can see that they found their game and stride. You look at their playoff series with St. Louis, San Jose and Chicago- there’s obviously no quit in it whatsoever. It’s tough to win any year and it’s tough to do it over and over. I think what they formed and even getting out of the first round, the history of the past ten years has been good and they were able to get up to that task and keep competing. I think a lot of the pieces that Dean has put into play here were on display again last year and hopefully keep that going forward.”

- On how other teams handle the off-season:

“Just like professionals will – they all do it. Players are smart that way, they take their time. I think over the past 15-20 years, the training part is so important now that to get a player to take a week off is tough to do. They’re right back at it, they’re mentally getting focused, they’re working on their off-season programs with the strength conditioning part of the game and everything. So when the season comes, they’re ready and they’ve been in that form for awhile so they’re able to continue.”

- On his best memories as a Kings player:

“A few obviously. Probably the biggest one was the first game that you play with the Kings. Walking out of the locker room with Wayne Gretzky, and Larry Robinson and Tony Granato and guys like that. Pretty special time. Playing in the finals in Montreal in ’93, having to go through Toronto where I kind of grew up in that area. So there’s a lot. I have great memories from the time I was here with LA and I’ve obviously made this home for the past 20+ years so it’s great to be back involved here.”

- On the fact he can’t please everyone, and the people who may not like him returning to the Kings:

“I don’t know if there’s much I can say that’s going to persuade them to change their views. They’re entitled to their own opinions and that and I’m fine with it. I know what my job and my task is here- to help this team and to be involved with the players coming up here and I’m ready and willing to do that.”

- In the past he’s said the ‘whole story’ hadn’t come out. Is now the time for that to happen once and for all?

“I’m very comfortable with my side of it and understanding the story and I don’t think I need to rehash the last 15 years of that at all.”

For what it’s worth, Blake opened up a little bit about his past history with the Kings during an interview we did with him in 2010. You can read it here.

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Comments

  1. losingsand says:

    good thing we hired blake to work the phones, since all he did as an LA KING was “phoning it in”

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