We’ll examine Dean Lombardi’s rise and fall as the general manager of the Los Angeles Kings in detail in the coming days, but an interesting note from TSN and ESPN once again underscores how pivotal loyalty was to Lombardi’s greatest successes and his greatest failures as a GM. Upon news of Lombardi’s dismissal by the organization, it sounds like members of both the team and the larger staff personally visited Lombardi to offer condolences last night.
...last night several Kings players went to his house to console him after his firing. Not ruthless enough? I'd rather live like Lombardi.— Gord Miller (@GMillerTSN) April 11, 2017
As @GMillerTSN noted, also hearing how some Kings staff and players went to Lombardi's place last night to say goodbye... strong bonds— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) April 11, 2017
Naturally, players who had been in the Kings organization for 5+ years of Lombardi’s tenure were going to be shaken up by the changes, even if they knew they were possible. It’s understandable that they’d feel the need to deliver some parting words to a guy who helped bring them a couple of Stanley Cups. For all of Lombardi’s faults, that culture of loyalty he strove to build didn’t go away just because the Kings missed the playoffs a couple of times.
As for not being ruthless enough... well, I’d say the problem was less “no ruthlessness” and more “poorly-chosen ruthlessness.” But we’ll get into his comments on Mike Richards and his inexcusable decision to let Slava Voynov practice later.
At any rate, clearly, there was still plenty of support for Lombardi on this team, and there’s plenty of support for him in the world of hockey.