Dean Lombardi – ‘This year, I’m batting about five percent’

More from LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi…

On why the 2014-15 LA Kings may have underachieved:

“After every year, you make the list. Ron Wolf said if you’re right 50 percent of the time, you’re more than fine as a general manager. Most of the public only sees trades and free-agency signings. There are so many things and decisions that you make every day that go into this job that have a huge impact. It goes back to Bobby Clarke and Lou Lamoriello talking about detail. That means everything. When we won the Cup, I was batting around 50 percent. I’ll tell you what, this year, I’m batting about five percent. That’s just reality, and it started out this summer. Here’s the problem: maybe this (team problem) was physical, and I guess I get it. So look at that in two contexts. One, we didn’t have a definitive game plan to deal with that. It’s one thing to say, `Here’s your offseason training,’ but most of that was based on a three-month cycle. We did not put something in place that said, there’s a way to get them in shape but it can’t be the way we’ve traditionally done it, because they have been playing for three years. If you’ve got four months to get ready, like Edmonton did, it’s not realistic to say that program is the same as for a team that has played into June for three years. Quite frankly, we didn’t have that in place.

So I look back and say, `They weren’t ready. They didn’t have a lot of time to train,’ but there was a way to train. So whether it would have worked or not? This is where you critique yourself. I can deal with substantive mistakes, and I make a ton of those. But procedural mistakes are intolerable. [Looking at how I missed this is] number one on my list. I failed to see this through and have a definitive plan. If we had done that and failed, then I could live with it. Like I said, this whole thing, where everybody in the organization ought to be [looking at themselves], that’s the first thing I realize. Wrong. I’m not going to show you the other 15 times, where I batted 1 for 14, but let’s put that out there.

The only other thing — and this is probably going to ruffle some feathers — but I thought of this, too. I get it; it’s frickin’ hard. It is frickin’ hard. I love those guys and what they did. You can’t appreciate, unless you were on that plane, coming back from New York [in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final] and it looks like Gettysburg in the back of that plane. Frickin’ heart, no doubt about it. One of those most inspiring performances of a group sticking together, that I’ve ever seen. That said, that, `OK, it’s too hard to come back after three months,’ hard is a relative term. You know what? The Bataan March, that’s hard. Trail of Tears, that’s hard. Alexander the Great traveling 10,000 miles with his army, that’s hard. Here’s the other thing: making $25,000 a year in minimum wage, and trying to earn a living, that’s hard. I look at it and say, ‘Darn right it’s hard, and those guys paid an enormous price.’ But the other thing? There might be a few things that are harder, and maybe we should have thought of that, that we’re still very lucky to be in this position. That’s just a fact. Maybe that’s the way we should approach it. Everybody was telling them all year, `It’s hard, hard, hard, hard.’ Well, if you tell them it’s too hard, it probably is, so maybe if you look at things that are harder, it would have made it easier. It’s all in your head. `Too hard, too hard.’ OK, would I rather do this or maybe the Bataan March? I think I’ll try to get my act together here.”

We have lots more from yesterday’s session with Lombardi posted here.


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