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Kings say they haven't been contacted by Blue Jackets regarding Ron Hextall

The Kings' assistant general manager is highly regarded around the league and reports say Columbus is interested in hiring him. But GM Dean Lombardi says no one has called him.

November 06, 2011|Lisa Dillman | On Tennis
  • The Oilers celebrate their 3-0 victory over Los Angeles, while Kings' left wing Ethan Moreau skates by unceremoniously.
The Oilers celebrate their 3-0 victory over Los Angeles, while Kings'… (Bret Hartman / Associated…)

They lost the chance to pick up two points in the standings but will the Kings lose a key member of their front office?

Not yet.

Reports trickled out late Saturday night that the Columbus Blue Jackets were interested in hiring Kings Assistant General Manager Ron Hextall, a highly regarded executive around the league. These rumors ranged from faintly credible to faintly ludicrous.

Hextall was leaving the press box at Staples Center shortly after the Kings lost to Pittsburgh, 3-2, in a shootout, and was his usual accommodating self. He said that he had not "heard anything" regarding the Columbus job.

More importantly, his boss, Dean Lombardi, said on Saturday and again on Sunday that no one from the Blue Jackets had contacted him, a key point since the Kings would have to grant permission for Columbus to negotiate with Hextall.

"They NEVER called me," wrote Lombardi to the Times' Helene Elliott in an email on Sunday.

Meanwhile, there was the matter of the highly entertaining shootout loss. The Penguins' Chris Kunitz tied it with less than three minutes left in regulation and his goal in the fourth round of the shootout was the difference. The Kings, who have won once in six games, ended their home scoreless streak of 158 minutes and 32 seconds and came away with a point.

Kings Coach Terry Murray spotted many encouraging elements in the Pittsburgh game but spoke about the need to get five-on-five scoring to the next level.

"I think we've got the people in place to do that. We just have to start to get it done," he said. "We've got three lines that are built now to be able to give us some scoring. We've got back-end guys like [Drew] Doughty, [Jack] Johnson, [Alec] Martinez, that can get up in the play. That has to evolve, come along faster. But I have a little bit of concern. We're now into the season, into November and we haven't got that start that we wanted on the scoring side."

Moreau fined

Kings forward Ethan Moreau was fined $2,500 for boarding Kunitz. Moreau was penalized two minutes for boarding, which occurred at 8:27 of the first period. The fine is the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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