Wire Tapped: Inside L.A. Kings GM Dean Lombardi’s Recent Phone Calls
Starting this summer, Dean Lombardi has attempted to address the most glaring need in the Los Angeles Kings’ depth chart: 1st line left-winger.
These attempts can only be described in one way: one failure after another. Behold:
- Ilya Kovalchuk (signed with Devils)
- Scott Parse (injury)
- Andrei Loktionov (still too young and a natural center)
- Brad Richardson (more accurately fills role of energy player)
- Wayne Simmonds (always works temporarily, but nothing more)
- Dwight King (who the? young prospect was nothing more than a prayer)
So it was back to the drawing board.
Terry Murray will have to make do with what he has: 5 top six forwards, and 7 bottom six forwards. Makes sense, right? This is what led to Trevor Lewis skating on the second line with Jarret Stoll and Ryan Smyth. He performed admirably, but does not currently possess the skillset needed to be a top 6 forward in the NHL.
This situation calls for the NHL GM hot-line. Since none of the players in the Kings’ system could adequately fit in on Kopitar’s left side, it’s time once again for Deano to get on the horn and see what could be available elsewhere in the league.
Thanks to my undercover job as the night janitor at Toyota Sports Center, the Kings training facility and front office headquarters, I have bugged Dean Lombardi’s office phone. Here now, are the transcripts of his most recent conversations:
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2010
DL: Hey GM, it’s DL.
George McPhee: Haha, yes, my initials are GM, I get it. What can I do for you, Dean?
DL: I hear you might have a winger for sale?
George McPhee: I am open to discussing offers for Tomas Fleischmann, yes.
DL: That’s not the one I was referring to..
George McPhee: He’s all I’m considering moving at the moment.
DL: Come on! You are totally bogarting all the Russian Alexes!
George McPhee: Not true. You had one for awhile and let him go.
DL: Yeah, I don’t think he was really Russian. More like SLOWin, ha-ha!
George McPhee: Ugh. You interested in Fleischmann or not?
DL: You better believe it. I can offer the following: a photo John Stevens took of Chris Pronger in a speedo, and a 6th round draft pick in 2017. Think it over, I know you’ll make the right decision.
George McPhee: .
DL: I can tell you’re speechless. I’ll give you some time to think about it. (hangs up the phone) Got ‘im by the balls.
THURSDAY, DEC 2
DL: Yo Pete!
Peter Chiarelli: Who’s this?
DL: It’s your boy DL!
Peter Chiarelli: Deano! What’s cookin’ in Cali?
DL: You know, just livin’ the dream my friend.
Peter Chiarelli: Don’t I know it. After the Kessel deal I am as good as tenured here. And now Tim Thomas is on fire! I am a genius! Marvel at my hockey intellect!
DL: I’ve always said, ‘you da man,’ Pistol Pete.
Peter Chiarelli: So what can I do for you Lombo?
DL: Well I hear Marc Savard’s return might cause some salary problems for you..
Peter Chiarelli: Oh, yeah. I mean can’t people just stay injured? What’s the deal with that?
DL: I hear ya bud. So anyway, I hate to bring this up, but you did pretty much steal Chara right out from under me back in ’06. I would be willing to completely forgive you if you considered dealing me Phil Kessel.
Peter Chiarelli: Stole?! And I already made that trade last year!
DL: I know but you must have some dirt or something on Burkie right? Couldn’t you just get Kessel back if you wanted to?
Peter Chiarelli: No way man, that trade was straight up legit. Listen Dean, I like you, so I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I am going to need to move some salary. Know what I mean?
DL: Yes, I think I do.
Peter Chiarelli: So I could be talked into sending someone your way. Preferably someone who hasn’t been able to play yet this year so that I don’t have to adjust my roster.
DL: Do you happen to have someone that I drafted?
Peter Chiarelli: (chuckles) Oh you want him? I mean, why yes, yes I do. The name Marco Sturm ring a bell?
Peter Chiarelli: Polo!
DL: OK, that was a cheap and obvious joke.
Peter Chiarelli: Yup.
DL: I like your style. What are you looking to get back? Because I can’t offer you any roster players or potentially promising prospects, EVER.
Peter Chiarelli: That is perfect. I love draft picks.
DL: OK. But wait. You said this guy hasn’t played yet this season. What’s the deal?
Peter Chiarelli: He’s got a knee thing, but I’m sure he’s fine. So let’s say Sturm for a 1st rounder and call it a deal.
DL: I dunno, smells fishy to me. I’ll offer you a 15 year-old case of friction tape I found at the Forum and a jock strap John Stevens stole from Chris Pronger.
Peter Chiarelli: How about a conditional 5th round draft pick?
DL: Done! (hangs up the phone) Sucker. Doesn’t he know you’re supposed to ask for more than what I offered?
FOUR HOURS LATER
DL: (filing his nails, whistling Queen’s ‘We Are the Champions’ answers the phone) Yello, is this the Los Angeles city parade permits office?
Physician: No Mr. Lombardi, I have the analysis of Marco Sturm’s injury. Prognosis is not good. I really don’t see him skating in the near future.
DL: F***. Thanks. (hangs up the phone) Marco!!
John Stevens: (pokes his head into Dean’s office wearing an Anaheim Ducks Pronger jersey) Polo!
DL: Get the hell out of here Stevens, and get rid of that damn thing, you know you can’t wear that in here.
John Stevens: Sorry boss, I overslept. These are my pajamas.
DL: (on the phone) Yo Pete, Dean again. Don’t think I can pull the trigger my man.
Peter Chiarelli: But you said!
DL: I know. But I just got word that Sturm will likely not be able to return to the ice anytime soon.
Peter Chiarelli: Right.. that’s why the draft pick is conditional. You really aren’t giving up too much here, you know that, right?
DL: Nope, blah blah can’t hear you. No deal. I’m just going to wait this one out. The Sutt-Dog is bound to pick up the phone any day now. Plus I’ve got a ton of guys in the system that can fill in. Up next: The Oscar Moller Experiment, Version 3.0.