Lombardi responds to anybody critical of Rob Blake hiring

Lombardi Blake Kings MayorsManor
During today’s conference calls with Dean Lombardi and Rob Blake, neither man shied away from the fact that some Kings fans – albeit, a small vocal group – may not like the hiring of the future Hall of Fame Player.

Despite a long list of credentials, including being the Kings’ all-time leader in games played, goals, assists and points by a defenseman, some people still live in the past and hold onto what they perceive the truth to be.

So, what is the truth about Blake?

It’s probably a mixture of many different things and may need a book to cover all the key points.

At the end of the day though, and I’ve shared this several times over the past few years, every single person I’ve ever spoken with connected to the game of hockey – both on the record and off the record – have had great things to say about Blake.

If you want the longer version of that point, well, you’re in luck.

During today’s call I asked Lombardi about those who might be critical of this move… and, yes, this was all one answer:

“I guess you can say that about every move a general manger makes, there is always going to be a vocal sector that doesn’t agree. But, the one thing that I’m well aware of… and I understand where that sentiment comes from, it obviously goes back to – what was it now, 20 years ago? I don’t know how you say this, because I was explaining this to somebody else who asked me this question, it wasn’t in a media-type setting. I was explaining to him that in a roundabout way, what happened there is one of the reasons he’s so respected. Now I don’t mean that… and the problem with saying that sounds like it’s a militant or something. I think what people fail to realize during that period is that players were under enormous pressure from the union. That was the time, don’t forget, where the union was beginning to really flex its muscles and was the beginning stages of the players getting to where they are today. Remember, hockey players were well behind the other sports in terms of the strength of the union, which was reflected in their salary.

“We were in the midst of this, and I certainly saw it from the management side. I can’t remember how many times that players were… it was that period where they really came together and everybody’s contact was looked at as having an impact on the other 600 guys. This was purely part of the old theory that a rising tide raises all boats. And Rob, as one of the top defensemen in the league, coming off the Norris Trophy, was clearly one of the most… when the union was looking at who is our biggest wave to raise this tide, it was Rob.

“A player is put in an incredibly difficult position, because on the one hand, clearly he wants to be loyal to his team. I don’t think there’s any question that Rob Blake wanted to be a King for life. But, the player is in a very difficult position where on the one hand, you have an obligation to your team, but then the team becomes bigger as you go onto a team of 600 or however many players were in the league… 20 times 600. I don’t think people understand the amount of pressure that’s put on a player in those situations. You want to stay there, that’s fine. But, that’s not going to be good for the other 599 players, because they need you to get X-amount so that the next player coming up can draft off [him] – ‘I’m 3/4 of Rob Blake, so I should get this.’ That’s how it works, that was the reality of that period.

“It was even from the management side, both managers knew what Blake was up against. So on the one hand you’re going, ‘Wow, that’s not right’, but on the other hand you go ‘Well, he’s doing it for the rest of the players.’ You’re caught in that middle area, where on the one hand it’s a lot of money – yes, no question, but it wasn’t about the money. It was an obligation that was being felt among the players to support each other. So, in a roundabout way, what he did, and subjected himself to that type of criticism on the behalf of 599 other guys, I get it. On the one hand, it’s a lot of money. But, then you look at the emotional part and essentially going on a limb and you say ‘Wow, that takes the risk factor.’ He was obviously very happy in Manhattan Beach and everything else.

“Again, I come back to people in the know, and I’m not saying this was the watershed moment, but people in the business know that this was a reflection of his character. You understand why people would say that’s just greed and everything and yeah I get it. But, there’s another side of this. That’s when, again, I said I called around to every facet of the league, I’m not saying it’s ‘the’ moment, but it’s a reflection of his character in terms of his commitment to a team. It’s just that this team was at this time in this industry, was a much bigger team. It didn’t just involve the 20 players in the room.

“That’s a very difficult thing. I saw some players on my team go through it, and I know how hard it was and I understand some of those players wanted to be in but realized they had enormous pressure put on them from the union. I can’t imagine, from what I saw from my players, being the Norris Trophy winner and what he was going through. So, I get it, but I think that at some point in time, you step back and say wait a minute here. I would not in any way indict him for that one moment in his career. Because certainly this industry hasn’t, I can guarantee you that. Every facet, whether it’s general mangers, equipment guys, players, there was nobody who doesn’t hold this guy… I can’t find one blemish on this guy. Not only not a blemish, but how highly in esteem he was held. I’ll tell you, whenever you go through this, you can always find something. I do my due diligence and I get it. If you put that type of character and commitment, and like I said, if he shows up with the work ethic that he showed with the league, he’s going to be a valuable asset to this organization. I don’t know if that makes sense, but having lived through it, I get it.”

We’ll have lots more with Lombardi next hour – talking Dustin Brown contract extension, the trade for Dan Carcillo, talks with Kyle Clifford and more.

For more from Lombardi, check out the stories linked below.


Lombardi – ‘It was what you would expect your captain to do’

Dean Lombardi on how and why he hired Rob Blake

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

Dustin Brown – ‘We weren’t built to win the Cup just one year’

VIDEO: Lombardi and Robitaille on Dustin’s Brown’s new contract

Dustin Brown signs long-term extension with LA Kings

EXCLUSIVE: Rob Blake will be named Asst GM in LA later this week

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  1. You’re such a kisser John LOL. “Albeit a small vocal group.”

    Yeah, when everyone disagrees with a move you make and everyone tells you so, that’s what you say in politics when you’re a kisser or trying to defend a position. Yeah, they’re vocal. but they’re a SMALL vocal group. It’s probably just the same five people complaining using different voices each time!

    John, did Dean feed you that line to use verbatim, or did you come up with it all by yourself just out of well-practiced instinct to defend everything Dean and the LA Kings do?

    And don’t get me wrong, I don’t care too much about this particular topic. It’s just shameful the way you try to spin everything in favor of the organization, and want to spin what is clearly a widely held feeling among Kings fans as imply a “small vocal group.” That’s just a lie, and it’s disappointing to see you keep posting either misinformation or now a flat out lie since I’ve started paying more attention to your blog and following it closer than I used to.

    • John Hoven says

      You make me laugh Sam.

      I’ve been critical plenty of times and, as I’ve said to you on several occasions lately, my record speaks for itself.

      If you need some sort of proof though… Just look at who asked the tough questions today. Who was asking Bllake and Lombardi about the past and those upset fans? It wasn’t the mainstream media, was it?

      What’s stated above is a fact. It IS a small group of people. I never said five people, so no need to try twisting what I said. It’s a small group though.

      You have to remember, the overwhelming number of Kings fans aren’t on twitter, don’t read the message boards, etc. They go to the games for an escape from their daily lives. They don’t care about the politics, the contracts, the daily details, etc. They just go for a few hours and cheer on the team.

      However, there is a small group of hardcore fans who hang on every word and know every detail about the team and its history. They are a very passionate group. That’s also no different than any other sports team in North America.

      Those hardcore fans can’t have it both ways though. They can’t whine that the Kings have a bunch of bandwagon fans since winning the Cup and then today claim they’re all together as one large group in their hatred for Blake.

      The truth is most people don’t care. And while the number of haters may have been larger five, 10 or 15 years ago, many have moved on.

      Go survey the 18,000 people at a game and see if more than 10% care, they don’t. Go survey the 250K people who were at the Kings Stanley Cup parade and see what percentage really care if Blake works for the team. It’s a VERY small number.

      Those are just cold hard facts. That’s not a criticism of the people who don’t like him or this hire – all fans are entitled to their opinion(s).

      I’m just saying that for every really upset fan you can find, there’s a handful more to offset that person.

      Disagree with me all you want. The numbers don’t lie.

      If you don’t like Blake, keep on booing him. That’s your right as a fan.

      For what it’s worth, long-time readers know, and I’ve stated this many, many times over the last decade, taking the ‘C’ off his sweater was one of the worst things he ever did. And, despite any spin that people put on it 20 years after the fact, it’s not what a captain should do. IN MY OPINION.

      However, you have to balance that with the fact that he’s a future Hall of Famer and universally respected by his peers. This isn’t a black and white issue.

      • He’s the only King to ever rip the “C” off his sweater. It goes against everything a leader should be. It goes against everything we love about NHL players.

        I’ve moved on and the hiring doesn’t bother me as much as some but I agree with the poster that the majority of fans who follow this team closely have a certain level of anger towards Rob Blake’s actions and comments in both stints with the Kings. Who cares what the 8 year olds and trophy wives sitting in Staples Center have to say? Try asking the fans who live and breath this team and this game.

        All Rob Blake had to do was apologize. Bam, squashed forever in my eyes. But he still refuses.

        Like I said, it doesn’t bother me that much but I certainly won’t be approaching Blake for an autograph any time soon.

      • In seeking fan feedback the 10% who care and understand issues beyond the final score are exactly who you should be asking otherwise you’d do just as well interviewing parents at a little league game in Palmdale.

        LA Kings management went to extremes to exorcise the ghosts of the past….ghosts that, perhaps10% of the fan base can name. Heck, they even exiled Demers. Why bring back a bugaboo like Blake?

      • John,
        Cold hard facts are backed up with…facts. I have yet to see any facts on this from you or the other side. Did you survey the 10K, 250K you are refering to? If you did, which I know you didn’t, that result could be argued as fact. But, you saying “it’s a fact” doesn’t make it a fact. With that said, I really don’t care if Blake is here or not. I don’t think by hiring him will add anything to the Kings or the fans, nor will it be detrimental to the organ-eye-zation. Looking forward to more engaging articles.

  2. Crown Royal says

    Lombardi makes some valid points about how things were at that time. I recall another Kings defenseman, albeit one not as popular as Blake, one Aki Berg explaining later how he wanted to sign a contract offered by the Kings but instead yielded to union pressure and returned to play in Finland.

    I’m not a Kings fan who admired Blake off the ice as much as on. I always believed he had a personal agenda that he prioritized over the Kings organization. I heard buzz from players who played with him which is not consistent with what DL claims to have heard from people around the league. At the end of the day DL is the GM and it’s his opinion that matters most in this situation… I will add that I agree with one thing the previous commenter said about those Kings fans opposed to this hire. It is more than a vocal few.

  3. The small vocal militant part have always bitched about things because the kings were mostly always awful; now, that the kings aren’t, they can’t figure out what to do so they just bitch about Blake or the 9th defensemen or whomever. It’s a sickness, an addiction.

  4. A small minority? No. Vocal? Hell yes!

    • John Hoven says

      18,000 people fill up Staples Center for a Kings game… how many of those do you think really truly care? Give me a number.

      Plus, a little more food for thought – sure, he’s not universally loved like, say, Luc Robitaille. However, if so many people hate Blake, why did he get more than double the number of votes than any other player in our recent Hall of Fame poll?


      Think about it, our readers are more likely to be hardcore fans than just casual/bandwagon fans. Thus, they’re the group much more likely to hold onto the hate than the casual fan. So, wouldn’t those haters rather see anybody else in the HOF than Blake?

      The numbers just don’t add up. Nothing suggests there is a widespread, large pocket of people. It’s more like a vocal minority.

      • Crown Royal says

        John, your point is well taken. People who have become fans in the last ten years probably could care less. Some long time fans happily remember when the team went from being Gretzky’s team to Blake’s and how he was the Kings best player. Others of us feel somewhat betrayed in what we view as a political move by the organization. Unfortunately I think this is nothing but a political move. My respect for DL and the Kings has gone way down. In the overall scheme of things what I think or what probably amounts to possibly a few hundred fans won’t matter either.

        What has Blake really done hockey-wise except being Shanahan’s helper in the department of player safety that’s failed miserably? Bettman was shrewd in employing those two as the league’s cops on illegal shots but concussions are not down (did you see the Canadian study just released) and Blake has not distinguished himself in any way as a coach or hockey manager. Many hockey GM’s who have had recent success have not been star players…or in some case even NHL level players. Teams like L.A., Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh have GM’s that never played in the league, ditto N.J. Is Rob Blake truly the best candidate to be the Kings asst. GM that the organization could find? Hard to believe! What’s done is done but some of us don’t like it and believe a big mistake has been made.

      • How many people actually participated in that poll? Is it possible some of your readers believe he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and still hate him?

        I am not as passionate about this issue as others are. I was actually more pissed off when he left the second time. I don’t think that was covered in the interview. BTW, great job on getting that interview and asking the questions you did!

        Maybe the majority of Kings fans who follow the game casually don’t care. But why would they if they don’t know any better? As for long time fans who have some sort of knowledge of Blake’s history, those with a negative view may not actually be the minority. However, you are correct about the vocal. And when that day comes where Blake has his jersey retired and the boos dwarf the cheers at Staples, I’m going to cringe.

        • John Hoven says

          The jersey will get retired after he goes into the Hall of Fame. While I don’t believe the boos will overpower the cheers that day, if you’re right and that does happen, it will be a very sad day for sports fans in LA. Regardless of any feelings about what he did or didn’t do, to boo a man as his jersey is being retired would show a pure lack of class and I’ll be embarrassed to cover the event.

          When the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012 their fans showed LA and all of North America how to party with respect. Maybe I’m an optimist, but I’m hoping they’ll be classy on Blake’s jersey retirement night as well.

          They don’t have to like the man. Yet, that’s not the night to voice their displeasure.

          • Then don’t retire the damn number. It’s really simple.

          • So you don’t think there will be a plethora of “Buck Flake” signs at the event? Just kidding.

          • LAKingsAndFansHaveClass? says

            They partied with respect? These Kings fans-on-a-rental-agreement were the douchiest fans of a Cup winner of all time. It’s lucky they didn’t riot and burn down the barrios and ghettoes. Everyone HATES how the Kings performed a second Cup ceremony on opening night. No winner with class ever delays the start of the season by acting like it was Game (4/5/6/7) all over again.

          • LooknAtYouBabe says

            @LAKingsAndFansHaveClass? – Who the hell is “EVERYONE”? I have been a Kings fan for almost 3 decades, and I know people who have been longer… I loved the opening day “Banner Hanging Celebration and Ceremony”! It was one of the best moments in franchise history, and an appropriate celebration after 45 years of frustration. So, go troll on some other page to make a ridiculous statement like that.

        • Choralone says

          I’ve been a Kings fan for close to 25 years. So has my wife. So have my friends. None of us bear this grudge against Rob Blake. I suppose we aren’t “real” fans according to those who do – simply because it doesn’t make our blood boil.

          Some people are just wired where they are incapable of moving or letting go – you see it in relationships. you see it at work, and you see it with fans. But for you people for whom that is the case – you are a minority – accept the fact. Most fans – old and new – are beyond ready to move on without a formal apology from Rob Blake.

  5. Past is past. Business is business. Lets see what he can do. I’m not going to say what happened wasn’t shady, but you can’t hold a grudge forever. Good luck, Rob. Glad you’re back in some form.

  6. John imo you were the voice of the fan, you wrote about things as a fan. Thats seems to have changed when they Kings gave you more access. You have become a mouthpiece for the front office. You have become what MSNBC is the Dems or FOXNews is to the Reps. They puit the message out there and you fall inline with them.
    I get its the AEG way, do what we say or you lose your media credential and access.

    PLEASE go back to doing the writing you did 2 years ago

    • John Hoven says

      For the record, over the past five years, the Kings have never asked me to take down an article or edit one word of anything I’ve ever said here, on twitter, the radio, etc. So, as I’ve stated before, I’m a mouthpiece for nobody. I say what I want and how I want to say it. Love me, hate me, take it, leave it.

      Show me something that I did two years ago that I’m not doing now.

      Also, maybe listen to some of the team’s conference calls I’ve been on lately. I ask the questions that others don’t or won’t. Who was asking Lombardi and Blake about their history and the ticked off fans on the calls today? It was me. Why? Because to properly cover the story of Blake being hired you need to look at it from all angles. If your accusations were even remotely true, I would never raise the issue to begin with. I would just run with the team’s press releases.

      In my opinion, you’re sadly mistaken. I write what I want to write about – from Drew Doughty’s Blue Jays hats to why they should trade for Jeff Carter and not Rick Nash. The opinions and thoughts are mine and I don’t run from them.

      Disagree with me all you want, that makes for good debate. Just try to limit your inaccurate accusations.

  7. Christian I says

    What does Dean what he think about Rob taking off the “C”? He is big on changing the culture, having players who will tattoo the logo on their rear and whatnot.

    I get the business aspect and Blake getting his money and going to a cup contender. What hurt me back then as a young fan and why I don’t like Blake now is solely because of how he relinquished the captaincy during the season.

    It might be petty for some but I can’t let it go. I’ve tried.
    I don’t boo him but a part of me is happy when others do.

  8. I call Shenanigans…

    If that was the case with salaries and owing the “future” players to get what is right for your play style, ability, whatever…then what just happened with Dustin Brown and “understanding the cap situation now and in the future” with the Kings?

    In my humble opinion, this is a case of DL making the transition as easy as possible for Blake. Don’t get me wrong, it is the correct move. I think DL is a very solid GM, in the top 10% for the league easily. I will trust his situation with hiring Blake. He obviously has no issues bringing in very strong personalities ala Hextall, so I will trust in his ability to make the right decision here.

    I just think we need to be honest that Blake took the same money from another team that we offered. You can call it what ever you want…pressure from the players union, greed, disagreement with coaching styles. Fact is that Blake chose to leave, don’t gloss that over. Let’s be honest and call the kettle black.

    • Very much my opinion as well. It’s hard to replace Hextall as I do think that he was an additive to the organization. Blake is not Ron and hasn’t the credientials for an asst. GM in my opinion. Perhaps the job description has changed to hire Blake. This is a step back, not forward and why do we care about Blake’s stats? Those stats don’t make a good GM…imo.

  9. Radgrl3256 says

    I have been a Kings fan since the late 80s. (And no, I didn’t become a fan because of Gretzky, who I really can’t stand. I was a 12-year-old kid whose dad suddenly had access to season tickets through his job.) I loved Rob Blake. I enjoyed watching him play, and I enjoyed the numerous times I was able to meet him at charity events and after the games. I was sad when he left the Kings organization, but I was able to accept that the NHL is a job, and there are pressures from all quarters. I think what is lost on many people is that Blake continues to return to the Kings organization in different ways. This tells me he still has love and loyalty for the Kings. I would imagine being so disrespected and booed by any number (large or small) of fans has to be hurtful. This is not a utopia we’re living in here, and as mentioned above, there are always things going on behind closed doors and elsewhere that people aren’t privy to, sometimes because it is none of their damn business. The players have to be concerned with what is best for them, same as employees and executives at any other business. There is no easy answer and I don’t expect to change the minds of that vocal (disgustingly rude and patronizing) group. Just remember: ignorance can be altered, stupidity can’t.

  10. Russ Grell says

    A lack of class is shoving rob blake down our throats, not fans expressing themselves with boos.

    • John Hoven says

      Not sure I agree with this. Was Hextall shoved down your throat for the last seven years? If the answer is no, then don’t expect Blake to be shoved down your throat either. AGM usually does his thing in the background for the most part.

      • Well John as a 25 year season ticket holder this feels like a huge slap in the face. Yes this is being shoved down our throats. Blake disrespected the fans, the Kings and the honor of being a captain in this league. John I doubt you were a fan at the time and you are definitely biased now.

        The only reason he wants to work for the Kings is this is where his wife is from and she has never wanted to move ie Colorado or San Jose she stayed here.

        • John Hoven says

          Yes, I’ve been a hockey fan for more than 25 years. I know the entire Blake story from start to finish. Born and raised in Southern California, come from a huge sports family and I went to my first Kings game in 1990.

          My full bio is here if you’d like it: http://mayorsmanor.com/about-the-mayor/

          As for the specifics of what he did that has upset you and others, I’ve said this many times – you have every right to be upset. As a fan, that’s your right.

          Personally, I think it was a bad move when he took the C off – regardless of the reason. That’s not a good move by a team’s captain. Clearly he changed his mind about, as he had the C back in less than two weeks. Before you say it, no, that doesn’t excuse that he did it in the first place.

          My only point this week has been this – the total number of fans that ‘hate’ Blake is a small percentage of the total number of Kings fans. That is not meant to discredit the fans that are upset with him though. Again, they have every right to be mad for as long as they want – even forever.

          Yet, the math doesn’t lie. That total group isn’t a large portion of the TOTAL fanbase. The diehard fans, like you, who have been around long enough to even know the situation are a small percentage of the overall pie. That was my only point.

          The rest of the fanbase can best be described as two other groups – (a) fans who know, but for whatever reason, don’t care or are over what happened….and (b) newer fans, and there are lots and lots of them that have come onboard since he was traded to Colorado, who have no horse in this race. Those two groups when added together make up the overwhelming majority of the 250k people that were at the Kings’ Stanley Cup parade… i.e. the TOTAL fanbase.

          • Well, as a business owner myself I am always going to be loyal to the clients that have been part of my business since it started. I will accommodate all my clients, but the last ones i’m going to piss off are the ones that have been with me the longest. As you have said, the Kings are not worried about upsetting long time fans anymore (ie waiting list for tickets).

            What I get from what you’re saying is, “Yea you’ve been a long time customer. You’ve spent a lot of money, but we are going to do things that you don’t like because our fan base is bigger. You long time fans are just a small percentage of that business so if you don’t like it, don’t let the door hit you in the butt, we have a waiting list.”

            The Kings want fan loyalty but in a lot of ways it’s a one way street.

          • John Hoven says

            I can see where you’re coming from. However, running a pro sports team is very different than running a ‘regular’ business. So, should ownership/management factor the voice of their paying customers into the decisions they make? Sometimes yes and sometimes no is probably the correct answer.

            Look at the quote from Lombardi, “I guess you can say that about every move a general manger makes, there is always going to be a vocal sector that doesn’t agree.”

            He’s right. Some people didn’t like the signing of Dan Cloutier, others didn’t like the trade of Lubomir Visnovsky, heck some may not have liked the recent contract extension for Dustin Brown. The point is, every move a GM makes will have supporters and detractors.

            We all know people who still complains about moves the Kings made in the past. I still get the ‘they never should have traded Loktionov’ tweets all the time.

            (not that you can compare Loktionov and Blake, just saying)

            When you wrote ‘What I get from what you’re saying is…’ you drew the wrong conclusion. What I’m saying is the overall number of people who hate (or perhaps the better phrase here is ‘don’t respect’) Blake is small compared to the overall population of Kings fans. It’s not even 20% of the fans. For every fan that’s negative on Blake, there’s three or four more that either support him or don’t care one way or the other.

            It doesn’t mean the feelings of the group you belong to aren’t important. You and all those people are entitled to your opinions. That’s your right.

            All it means is, as Lombardi said, people question every move he makes. He needs to make the moves he feels are in the best interest of the team going forward – with trades, signings, hirings, etc.

            When I say most people like Kopitar, Doughty and Quick, it’s a generalization that is true. If we look hard enough, there are people who don’t like those players.

            When I say it’s a small group of people who are down on Blake, it’s true. That’s based on 18K fans at every game and 250K people at the Cup parade. It’s just math.

            Yet, once again, you are entitled to have strong feelings on Blake. That’s OK, it’s your right as a fan.

  11. I would say first and foremost that I don’t think it’s John’s job to be critics of the organization in this case. His job as I see it (and if I’m wrong I’m sure he will say so) is to report the happenings of the club. No more no less. I believe he has done his job in at least having this discussion in that he has acknowledged there there is still some ill will towards Rob Blake for his previous actions. He has reported accurately on the circumstances around this issue. I don’t care for Rob Blake. I don’t care for what he did to the organization (twice). I don’t think he cares for the Kings any more than he cares for the other teams in the league. But amazingly my problem in this circumstance isn’t with Blake. I know what I saw a decade ago and while an apology that has never happened would be nice, I ultimately don’t think anything said is going to change that. What I don’t understand, from the Kings perspective, is why they continually force Blake upon a fan base that is at best luke-warm about his involvement with the club? I don’t understand why that would need to be done. John you say that it would be a sad day in LA if he is booed during a jersey retirement ceremony. My question is if that is even a possibility, why bother? Why embarrass the guy further? I’ll boo because I’m not happy and that’s my right. I don’t think I’d be wrong to do so. I do agree it would be sad. It would be sad not because it would be a negative reflection of the fans in LA (quite the contrary), but because it would be unnecessary.I don’t need to boo Rob Blake any more than I already have. Loyalty is an important thing to Kings fans. 45 years of by and large mediocrity dictates it out of necessity really. That same small but vocal minority you speak of is the reason this club survived for 45 years. It was a small but vocal minority that showed up season after season to watch a losing team. They lived and died with this club for far too long to allow someone they perceived to abandon them to be celebrated. They just won’t allow it to pass by silently, and I don’t think anyone who hasn’t walked in their shoes for decades can say otherwise. For the Kings, or anyone else to be dismissive of that notion continually is baffling and disappointing.

  12. Turd Ferguson says

    The difference being is that Dean is a business man first, not a Kings fan first. When he moves on from the Kings, I will still be here, just like I was when Dean was in San Jose, Philli, or wherever or Blake was in Col and SJ.

    It’s crap that he has hired Rob Blake and if it upsets a “small group” it shouldn’t be done, period. I get that you can’t please everyone, but had Futa been promoted or someone from from the outside been hired there wouldn’t even be a “small group” it would be a couple people. Maybe I am missing something but the man was hired into a position with seemingly very little front office experience. What is so special about Blake that this was a logical move? Maybe Dean’s hands were tied, I don’t know, but I hate the thought of Blake being in the building and his number being retired.

    • John Hoven says

      Answering your question about why Blake was hired, Lombardi offered these reasons:


      • Turd Ferguson says


        Those just seem like stock answers from a GM, like when a player says “We need to play hard and give 100% effort to win games” instead of “Player X sucked tonight and we were at the bar late”.

        Maybe assistant GM is a simple job, but for me, to every position I have ever worked, I earned. There are plenty of people who have earned an advancement while working for the Kings. I just don’t understand a guy walking into the position on name, and name alone.

        One last thing, Boooooooooooooooooo!

        • John Hoven says

          Valid point.

          Regarding the lack of experience at any level of team management, that’s part of why I said it was a bit of a curious move. Then again, several other former players have stepped into similar roles with less experience (i.e. Blake at least worked with the NHL front office for three years and was heavily involved with the NHLPA earlier in his career).

  13. I was never mad he left to the avs. that was business. I get that.
    I was mad when he returned and underperformed, and we missed the playoffs those two years, not quite upset then, but then he went onto the sharts, I mean the sharts, really, whatever business, but then did better that the 06-08 with the Kings, that was the Kick in the pants.

    Really the only part that made me mad was I bought his Jersey when he returned, and wasnt himself, then went to the sharts, announced his retirement on a kings telecast too. It wasnt the easiest time for me to cough out $80 for his jersey either, just had my third Kid, recently moved, etc.

    Of course I harbor no ill will, but the man owes me a signature on that Jersey. Then I will feel better.

    • I should add, yes I know he has been active with the lil Kings program, and he didnt walk back into the org, he has been active. He kept good ties etc. I know a cap usually doesnt give up the C and stay on the team. But the sharts. Man, that was a move a lot of Kings fans hated, even if it was with DL then, but didnt know the future. State rival, that hurt. I get he wanted to stay in socal. Same if he went to the sucks.

    • Mars, I agree with what you said at the top of your comment. Blake leaves the Kings in search of the Cup. I get that and have no problem with the decision. Luc did the same thing. Again, no problem with that. Each got their names on the Cup. Great! Each returned and Kings fans welcomed both back with open arms.

      But here the examples of “it’s only business” stop. Luc returns and gives everything he’s got left to the cub while on the ice. Blake? His play during his return seasons was mediocre – at best. Not the Rob Blake we saw go to the Avs. Even worse, not the level of play we saw when he went to the Sharks. Going to San Jose was again a business decision, and once more, no problem with that. BUT, the question I have always had is what was the change/problem when he returned to the Kings after winning the Cup? Injury? Post Cup lack of drive and desire? Take the money and run?

      I only hope that Blake takes THIS return to the organ-i-zation more seriously than his first return stint.

  14. If Blake had truly wanted to be a King for life, he could have made that happen. He even had two chances, in fact.

    Let’s not act like fans who remember this are in some way to blame.

    • John Hoven says

      Let me be clear, again…

      Fans are not to blame for anything.

      The point here is that the fans who don’t respect Blake are a small percentage of the total pie. That’s it.

      Whatever the size of that group though, they are fully entitled to be as angry as they want.

  15. LooknAtYouBabe says

    In my opinion… After a decade or more that has passed, a GM that has completely and successfully rebuilt the Kings into a winner, really quality drafting and trades, multiple playoff appearances for several years, and a Stanley Cup, I can say very solidly… I DON’T GIVE A CRAP ABOUT THIS!

    Everyone… WE WON THE STANLEY CUP!!! Get over it! Seriously! Let Dean hire and support whoever he thinks is right for the job. He is obviously doing something right… If you are that upset about it, then boo Blake! Or, be childish and do whatever it is you are going to do! Don’t buy season tickets if your so mad over this nothing issue! Just go away! There are plenty of new Kings fans to replace you… That won’t act like big babies!

    This reaction to Blake being hired as the AGM is being way overblown by the small few John has referred to. And, it is a small group… Whether you want to argue that or not. It will have no real affect on the team. He is a professional who will do his job and if all goes well, will be part of the team winning another, and hopefully many Stanley Cups! This argument is an absolute waste of time, and fans raising it just need to let things go. Worry about how we are going to be on the ice, and get over this crap!

    Worry about what happens on the ice… Worry about us winning another cup!

  16. Robert e says

    John, I think you handled this article well. For most of your viewers, I feel certain they weren’t around or were quite young when this stuff all happened. For me, it was already about 25 years in to watching the Kings team mishandle about everything they touched-so why should Blakie be different. Whether or not he was greedy would have been irrelevant. Later Gretz bowed out because he said the team had no drive nor desire to win a Cup. Of course, for what he cost us, he didn’t win us one either. Perhaps we Shoulda tagged HIS CONTRACT with a few more Zeppelin stamps?

    Anyway, Blakie went to Colorado and won a Stanley Cup. Robitaille went to Pittsburgh and Detroit. Bill Flett. Ross Lonsberry & Eddie Joyal won theirs in Philly. Butchie Goring won his WITH BILLY SMITH on Long Island. So F-O-L-K-S before you point your finger (whichever finger you feel the need to point) at potentially greedy players, look back to some of our shark-skinned owners who paid peanuts to the slaves until they finally got paroled by various ridiculous trades out…We may have loved hockey, but L.A. was not a destination for players to want to come.

    And worse still, some of our lovely fans actually threw beer and programs at one of the greatest goaltenders in history because he had a bad game in the playoffs. Classless, arrogant, obscene fans in L.A.-those kind of people get educations when a cabbie runs them down. Do not accuse others while you stand high and mighty on your little cardboard throwns (awe the metaphors are flowin’ now). We are suddenly blessed with great ownership (forget their earlier intent), terrific management, well defined and well traveled coaches with years of experience and players who actually want to be here. We have a quirky-Rocky-like- coach on the bench who is almost as entertaining to hear the press try to get 10 words out of as he is at getting the best work ethic out of his players. We have suddenly gone from some 10-15 wooden-Indian-goalies to an embarrassment of riches guarding or wanting to guard our nets. And we have young talent pushing our vets to maintain the best they’ve got or fear losing out.

    Honestly, I think this city has about the best possible situation we could ever ask for-short of the next Stanley Cup?


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