We already posted part one of today’s chat with Kings GM Dean Lombardi (linked here). Now, let’s take a look at what he offered up when asked about the Marian Gaborik acquisition…
“[You try to] make sure your team has all the weapons necessary. I think this was one weapon that we were lacking. The key for us in this—it’s why I stayed away from some other deals—because I don’t want to lose our identity. I said okay if we’re going to go one box for a guy who can bring me [unintelligible]… It has to be high-end and that should mesh with…then hopefully too the challenge for Marian is going to be, one, that this is a very different conference. We know how physical…we’ve all seen with St. Louis and San Jose or those series that make you sore just watching them. There’s not a lot of space. That’s going to be an adjustment too. It’s buying into the way this team performs, not changing your game, but knowing you have to do those little things and then go do with those God given gifts you have that very few people have. But you have to take the first step first. All those little things that I’m talking about are essentially just being a teammate. Everybody’s got to pay a price and that’s why this team has had success. The high-end guys like Kopitar, Carter, Doughty—all these guys have never lost sight of the fact that there’s a price to be paid, now go do your thing. That’s what we’re expecting from him, meshing with that team and then bring to this team what it does not have in its arsenal—an explosive player that can make something out of nothing. It’s interesting too…like Blakey said—and Robin Regehr had told Darryl this—that this guy, when he’s on, is one of the hardest players in the league to play against. Not in a physical sense, but he’s very difficult to defend. You have to be cognizant of him on the rink all the time. Again, it’s a weapon I’ve felt we would like to add to the mix here to throw a little bit of everything at you. But not at the expense of what this team stands for.”
On if this trade essentially means he traded Bernier for Gaborik, when you look at the assets involved:
“Well, it’s not that. We hashed that in the summer, how difficult it is to move goalies. Quite frankly, I think everyone knows what I think of Jonathan Bernier. It was frustrating. The hard part about moving goalies is there are only 30 jobs. You don’t have a lot of bidders. It’s almost similar to what happened today with some of the other high-end-forwards where somehow the bidding dropped out. Moving goaltenders is always tough. With Jon he’d done everything conceivable except play the number one role. I think he showed certainly the capabilities of it, but that’s a case where it’s frustrating. Amazing we had two teams but in the end the only one who showed serious interest was Toronto and you make the best deal you can. I said it at the time, there’s no way I’m getting [fair market value] value for Jon Bernier what he’s worth if he’s a number one goalie. In the end, that’s all you get. It’s not different than Vanek right now. In the end it’s what you can get. It’s not what you think he’s worth. The market place is telling you.
If Marian does what he’s capable of and brings it to this team, then yes… Like I said, the other thing about this we didn’t talk about why I kind of like this is I think in talking about team. You know how I feel about mercenaries. The other thing I liked about this…Columbus gave us permission to talk to his agent. Marian wanted to come here before, don’t forget, before he went to New York, but I didn’t think it was the right time. He was very interested in playing here but I thought where our franchise was at, it wasn’t the right time. I thought we needed to put other things in place first before you added a player like this. That kind of dovetails. If he wanted to be here then, and now, okay, he’s coming here. He’s talked to his agent. He clearly wanted to come here. He’d like to stay here. I like this that he’s coming here with the purpose of staying here versus some of things you saw out there with some of the free agents where the player says, I’m going July 1st.
Well I have a hard time thinking somebody’s going to go get his head smashed in St. Louis or San Jose when he’s already talking about going July 1st. So that’s the other factor, he wants to be part of the fabric of this team, versus somebody who’s already told you I want to go to July 1st. To me, it’s too hard in the playoffs. It’s too hard not to be completely invested in that process. [If I guy is thinking] ‘Well my goal is to go to July 1st and I have no interest, well I might have interest, but I want to see what else is out there,’ I don’t know if that’s going to cut it when you’ve got Polak and Jackman out there looking, staring you down. That’s the other thing that we’ve checked out here in terms of his attitude in coming here. His agent who’s here in LA was very clear that he’s hoping it works out so he can stay here and I’m comfortable with that situation.”
More to come.
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