Today’s press conference with new general manager Rob Blake, new club president Luc Robitaille, and AEG CEO Dan Beckerman was our first extended public look at the new direction of the Los Angeles Kings. Yesterday’s dismissal of Darryl Sutter and Dean Lombardi answered the biggest question at hand heading into the offseason, but the swift move raised a number of smaller questions. Some got answered today, and some didn’t. With Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Jeff Carter in the building, Blake and Robitaille got to talking.
Why two former players? And are they ready?
The former-club-legend-in-important-role has a mixed history, and Robitaille was asked about that. Fortunately, LA currently retains a deep and experienced staff, and Luc assured everyone that they’d have plenty of help.
Luc: not sure if it's a "trend" but about being willing to work— Robyn (@robyn_jftc) April 11, 2017
Luc says transitioning from VP/President of Biz Ops is about team and working together— Robyn (@robyn_jftc) April 11, 2017
Speaking of which, what will the Kings do with Mike Futa?
Since the Buffalo Sabres expressed interest in interviewing him for their open general manager slot at the end of 2013, Futa has seen his name pop up in GM rumors, but he took a promotion to VP of Hockey Operations and Director of Player Personnel and stayed with the Kings. The Kings were never going to fully clean house as long as they had Futa, but they passed him up in favor of Blake.
That doesn’t mean he won’t be even more critical to the organization than he’s been before.
Question about Futa. Blake praises scouting staff, says they're going to talk to him about vacant positions and future of the club— Robyn (@robyn_jftc) April 11, 2017
Blake re Mike Futa: "Mike has been tremendous and we're going to sit with him over the next couple days. I'm going to lean on him.'— Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) April 11, 2017
How’s everybody doing, by the way?
Everyone is so solemn at this presser. I mean I know it's serious but it's like someone died— Robyn (@robyn_jftc) April 11, 2017
Who’s gonna coach?
Good luck getting an answer there. Rob Blake hinted at the direction LA might go in, though...
[EDIT, 5:55 PM: You can rule out Sutter’s assistant, Davis Payne.]
Blake: no decision about coach yet. Time will be involved.— Robyn (@robyn_jftc) April 11, 2017
Rob Blake tells me #LAKings 1st choice would be a coach with NHL head coaching experience— jonathan davis (@westcoasthky) April 11, 2017
What’s the biggest goal for this team going forward?
The goal is... goals.
No decisions about team philosophy yet but does make a point that they can't score so that's something important they'll consider in future— Robyn (@robyn_jftc) April 11, 2017
Does that mean drastic changes in management, then?
Unlikely, when you consider that both Luc and Rob studied under Lombardi himself.
Blake: I have the utmost respect for Dean Lombardi and what he's been able to teach me and lead me through. #LAKings— Deborah Lew (@by_DeborahLew) April 11, 2017
Will the new GM be as verbose as the old GM?
No. Done in 15 minutes.
rob blake: "i'm going to keep this one short..."— sarah. (@goorgoahead) April 11, 2017
everyone who's covered a lombardi press conference is hearing angels sing from the heavens
Here’s the full presser, if you’re interested in watching.