Dean Lombardi took a few minutes today to talk to me and Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times about a few of the latest Kings-related stories, particularly the recent re-signings of Colin Fraser, Jarret Stoll, Jonathan Quick and Dustin Penner, as well as the assistant-coach opening. The full quotes are below…
On unrelated notes, a couple other items… The Kings are expected to announce their development-camp schedule tomorrow. As usual, there will be a handful of public on-ice sessions in El Segundo (sometime over the next week or so), so I’ll pass those along as soon as they’re available. Also, I touched base today with Drew Doughty’s attorney, Craig Renetzky, and there’s nothing new to report in relation to the rape allegations. Renetzky still has not heard anything from the District Attorney’s office about possible charges. Finally — we’re really all over the place here — the Kings are still technically “in’’ the Zach Parise sweepstakes, given that Parise hasn’t announced his choice yet, but it seems clear that nobody in the organization is waiting with bated breath. The Kings like Parise a lot, and made a strong offer, but they’re anticipating turning their attention toward other players, with Shane Doan likely remaining a possibility.
Here’s the stuff from Lombardi this afternoon…
Question: You were able to get your deals (Fraser, Stoll, Quick) done quickly. Was it as simple as it looked?
LOMBARDI: “I’ve always said this. When both sides are willing to do a deal, you can get it done. What drags on a lot of times, like the one we had earlier in the year [Drew Doughty], it’s a different set of circumstances. Obviously the key here was, each one of those players definitely wanted to stay. They were willing to work with us, in terms of making it fit within the salary structure. It’s a credit to those players, because they are the ones who make the ultimate decision. It was very clear that they were committed to this team.’’
Question: The last one was Penner. What was your ultimate thought process there, in getting that done?
LOMBARDI: “Obviously it was the last one that we did. We had the draft and everything, but we really thought it was imperative for him to sit down with Darryl and I, and let him know — how do you want to put this… You can’t do anything contractually, but we felt it was important for Darryl to re-affirm what’s going to have to happen next year, that, in the end, no matter what we do in terms of adding or subtracting players, every one of those players has to get better. I just think, with Dustin, obviously we saw it’s been a long ride, but we want to make sure that he’s committed to the effort we saw in the last two months, and not the player we saw prior to. And he was very good, too. Darryl, it was, look him in the eye, man to man, and there were no punches pulled. To his credit, he could have easily went to the market and maybe came back, but he called that night and said, `No, I want to stay, and I’m going to show you.’ He was willing to take a one-year deal. It says a lot about him, too, in terms of his commitment, that he had no interest in testing the waters. Like I said, in that conversation, Darryl didn’t pull any punches, which you probably don’t expect him to. He said, `No, I’m in.’ Even that one, I give him a lot of credit.’’
Question: Any word on when you might fill that assistant-coach opening?
LOMBARDI: “Darryl is working through the process. I think it’s probably safe to say he’s got it within four guys. But it’s more important that he get the right guy. There’s no hurry here. It’s critical that he gets a guy he feels is the right fit. I would say, right now, his list probably has four or five.’’
Question: Do you expect Bernie (Nicholls) to come back in that same role next season?
LOMBARDI: “Same thing as last year, with Darryl bringing him in. Wherever I’ve been, I’ve felt the coach knows, particularly a veteran coach, that he knows what he needs to succeed. So, that’s a question for Darryl.’’