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Shoptalk from Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi

September 10, 2012|By Lisa Dillman
  • Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi says he's not emotional about a potential NHL players lockout.
Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi says he's not emotional about… (Andrew D. Bernstein / NHLI…)

There was only so much work to do on his farm in Northern California, fixing fences this summer and horseback riding.

And so, Dean Lombardi has been back in the office for several weeks. (He had his personal day with the Stanley Cup last month).

In fact, he spent part of Labor Day weekend hunkered down in his offices watching videotapes of minor-league hockey games.

The Kings president and general manager can get worked up about many things.

But the looming NHL lockout is not one of them.

"I'm not getting emotional,” he said in an interview with The Times. "Let’s face it: This process is way above our pay grade. Particularly when I was younger, as GM, 'We should do this. We should do that.' You hear the players might do this, might do that. It’s unproductive. Again, it’s almost beyond our job description."

During the lockout in 2004-05, Lombardi was scouting for Philadelphia and he said the Flyers did not miss a beat and kept their scouts on the road. From that experience, and previous work stoppages, Lombardi has learned a lot about  making the most of a tough situation.

"It’s a great opportunity to walk the shop floor," he said. "Really consolidate our thinking and dig into things that oftentimes I’ve wanted to do, but we just get behind on. The idea is that there is nothing to do – there's plenty to do."

If there is a lockout, he would work on all "three sectors." The Kings' minor-league affiliate in Manchester, N.H., will open training camp on Sept. 28.

“I’ll go to the minor leagues, travel with my pro guys, my amateur guys," Lombardi said. "This is a great opportunity – I don't want to say reinvent the wheel – but dig into things more deeply. Then I can spend time on the road with them, and that often gets neglected because you’re with the big team and putting out fires, particularly like last year."

Lombardi said he met recently with AEG’s Tim Leiweke, the team’s governor, and does not anticipate any immediate staff cutbacks, saying they will stick with the status quo.

Additionally, goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped by the Kings' offices last week and his progress following off-season back surgery is on schedule, Lombardi said.

Lombardi said that the discomfort was so acute before the surgery that Quick could barely sit down. The Conn Smythe winner as playoff MVP had what the team called "minor surgery" in early August.

"He played through it during the playoffs," Lombardi said. "He’s a fighter."

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