As I indicated in yesterday’s post on Dean Lombardi, I was able to get Lombardi’s thoughts on the three Kings prospects who recently completed the World Junior Championships. Maxim Kitsyn (sixth round, 2010) won gold with Russia, Brayden Schenn (first round, 2009) won silver with Canada and led the tournament with 18 points. Derek Forbort (first round, 2010, and pictured) won bronze with the United States. I actually started out by asking Lombardi about the shoulder separation that Schenn sustained, and then played through in the medal round. It brought my mind back to 2009, when Oscar Moller played through a shoulder injury for Sweden after the Kings allowed Moller to leave the NHL for the tournament. Of course, this situation is different, because Schenn wasn’t coming back to the Kings, under any circumstance, but I asked Lombardi if there were any Moller-like concerns about Schenn, who is expected to miss 10-14 days…

LOMBARDI: “I didn’t even think about that. The problem with Moller is that they didn’t diagnose it. Nobody told us what the hell was going on. With this one, it was clearly a grade-A separation, no doubt about it. They were shooting him up to get him through. Part of the Moller thing was that we were never really told exactly what was going on, and we were wondering if he was getting the right treatment. Then there’s the difference that he was on the NHL roster and Schenner is not. But it’s a good point. If he had the grade-A separation and he was coming back to us, would we have pulled him (from the tournament)? Part of the reason we couldn’t pull Moller is that we weren’t being given the right information, so it kind of screwed up the trust factor. Quite frankly, we wanted (Schenn) to play through it, so it never crossed our minds to pull him. A grade-A separation, it’s serious, and that’s why he had to get shot up and why he will have to take the 10-14 days off, but it never did occur to me to shut him down, to be honest with you.”

Lombardi also shared his thoughts on Schenn, Kitsyn and Forbort…

LOMBARDI: “I’m glad to see what Schenner did. He needed to do that. He won every award there, and deservedly so. On the other hand, it’s fair to say we expected him to step up. He did. He was certainly the top play among the players there. His points weren’t cheap. He did a really good job. It’s too bad, the way it ended for Canada, but he needed to be a top guy, and he was.

“Kitsyn is going to be real interesting. He was real impressive in the pre-All Star Games. I watched all of those, and it was actually the first year that Russia won that tournament too. He was clearly one of the better players amongst that group. You can see that he’s not vanilla. There are some high-end things there to work with. There were some goals where he showed his skill, but I’ve also seen him score some goals where he hung in there, in some tough areas, and used his good hands. So it’s not just a skill thing. What I really love about him, though, is that he kept his word. When we drafted him, it was similar to Loktionov. `Are you going to come over here (for junior hockey)?’ He said, `I want to play in the World Junior, and then I’ll play Canadian junior.’ And he’s doing that. He got his release, and he’s going to St. Mike’s with a chance to win a Cup, very similar to Loktionov. It will be interesting. He has certainly had a very good audition for this side. But it’s going to be an interesting test for him, over the next four months, playing on a very good team that should go a long way.”

“Forbort, he was the youngest player there on the back end. A year and a half ago, this kid was playing bad high school hockey. For him to play in that tournament, at this stage, just being there and making that team is a good step for him. Certainly we would expect him to continue his progression and play a bigger role on that team next year. I think just making the team, and experiencing that, he has come a long way in a short time. We drafted a specimen there, with what should be a lot of upside, given that he has never played in these type of tournaments. He had high school hockey and one year in the U.S. program and then right to North Dakota. So, like I said, it’s a year and a half removed from bad high school hockey, and it’s a significant jump. It’s a good experience for him, but certainly we would expect him, next year, to have a bigger role in that tournament. They were all, at their own levels, pretty good. Schenner, like I said, we’re certainly proud of all he did there, tying the record and all that stuff, but that was the goal he set for himself, and that’s where he should have been. So, good for him.”

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