June 3, 2012
Lombardi, then a student at Ludlow (Mass.) High School, was a member of the Springfield team that won the New England Junior Hockey League to take home the Wallace Cup.
“The Wallace Cup? Good memory,” Lombardi said. “Not the same as this.”
Lombardi chuckled and calculated the angle at the same time, often his modus operandi. He is skilled at flanking maneuvers during interviews.
But the bottom line — which every general manager eyeballs — is this is all new to Lombardi.
This is the longest that Lombardi has lasted in the Stanley Cup playoffs. His San Jose Sharks teams reached the Western Conference semifinals in 2000 and 2002. He is in his sixth season with the Kings, who held a 1-0 series lead before Saturday’s game.
“I’m not Sam Pollock here,” Lombardi said, tapping his hockey history chip to reference the former Montreal Canadiens general manager. “I haven’t won a bunch of Stanley Cups.”
So when Anze Kopitar scored in overtime to beat the Devils, 2-1, in Game 1, the camera caught Lombardi staring onto the ice, seemingly devoid of emotion.
“This is a new experience for me,” Lombardi said. “The emotion is at another level. It might be different if we were the New York Yankees or Detroit Red Wings and had been through this five or 10 times.”
On-the-job training does not fit a general manager’s personality. That is especially true with Lombardi, who is equipped with a type-triple-A personality when it comes to work.
The job, though, is a little different at the moment. Personnel maneuvers are behind him. The draft, contract haggling and other general manager matters are off in the future.
That leaves time to worry, even after the Kings won 2-1 in overtime in Game 2 Saturday at New Jersey.
The Kings had a 3-1 series lead over the Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference Final, yet Lombardi had a sky-is-falling scowl before Game 5, fretting, “They have us right where they want us. They have nothing to lose.”
The Kings ended up beating Phoenix, 4-3, on Dustin Penner‘s overtime goal.
“You sit up there kind of helpless,” said Ron Hextall, the Kings’ assistant general manager. “You build your team and then your team has to respond. Your coaches got to coach.”
And your general manager?
“Dean’s not bad,” Hextall said. “He gets emotional from time to time.”
No one in Lombardi’s inner circle was willing to put a definition on his version of “emotional.”
Dean Lombardi was born on March 5th, 1958 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dean_Lombardi
March 5th, 1958
3 + 5 +2+0+1+2 = 13 = his personal year (from March 5th, 2012 to March 4th, 2013) = Major changes.
13 year + 5 (May) = 18 = his personal year (from May 5th, 2012 to June 4th, 2012) = Surreal. LA Kings madness.
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