One day after a shakeup that included the firing of longtime general manager Dean Lombardi and head coach Darryl Sutter, Los Angeles Kings officials said Tuesday it is too early to tell who will be coaching the franchise next season, and whether the existing staff of assistant coaches will remain intact.
“We have to kind of step aside here and go through a whole list of things,” newly appointed team vice president/general manager Rob Blake said. “So, all that will be obviously in the mix, hiring a coach — and the philosophy of the coach is, you know, of utmost importance — but there will be time involved.”
Blake, a Hall of Famer, was appointed to his post Monday after being vice president/assistant general manager since 2013. Lombardi had been general manager since April 2006.
Fellow Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille, who had been president of business operations, was promoted to club president and will oversee all hockey and business operations. Blake will direct the team’s day-to-day hockey operations.
Dan Beckerman, president/CEO of the Kings’ parent company, AEG, said the move to fire Lombardi and Sutter — who coached the team since December 2011 – – was “not taken lightly,” given their success over the years in building a team that won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014.
“We are all grateful for what Dean and Darryl did for this organization,” Beckerman told reporters at Staples Center. “They built an incredible team. They built an incredible infrastructure. They led us to the two Stanley Cup championships. They took the franchise to new heights, set the bar extremely high.
… But ultimately it was about our future. It was about evolving and it was about moving forward as an organization.”
Beckerman reiterated that the team has fallen short of expectations the past three years. The team ended its most recent season Sunday with a 39-35-8 record.
“But as we look forward I have great confidence,” he said. “Everybody here has great confidence in our players. We have confidence in our on-ice leadership team … and we have confidence in our management, led by Rob and Luc.”
Sutter was the winningest coach in Kings history with a 225-147-53 regular-season record.
Robitaille heaped praise on Sutter and Lombardi, but said he was excited for the opportunity to “help the Kings get back to what we all expect from this hockey team.”
“We will never take their contribution for granted,” he said. “But in the end, this is about the L.A. Kings. It’s about winning Stanley Cups.
… We believe that this team has the core in place to contend for the Stanley Cup. … Most importantly, it’s about creating an expectation that when you wear the Kings jersey it represents something special. It represents winning, it represents excellence and it represents this city and our fans. It also represents all the people that come to work each day to give their all for this organization.”
–City News Service
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