Lombardi Ruminates on Schenn Decision Tree

Puck notes: Dean Lombardi on Brayden Schenn | The Fabulous Forum | Los Angeles Times

Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said he’s undecided about whether to recall prospect Brayden Schenn if the center’s Western Hockey League team is eliminated from the playoffs. [...] "That’s a good question," Lombardi said. "It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about it."

[...] "With your top player, and he was told this when he left, I think part of their development, particularly when they go back to a league where they should be a dominant player, is to go deep and win. If you’re that good, as he is and as he should be, you might as well learn to take winning on your shoulders now," Lombardi said.

Yes, but if Schenn is recalled to the Kings, it's because his season is over in the WHL. So that's not even an option (yeah, except in the "emergency recall" scenario -- which, if it occurs, means we're screwed anyway).

"I’m a little torn on it. On one hand you want to have access but we made the commitment to go this route. I want to see him win."

Here, he's not talking about whether or not he's going to recall Schenn to the NHL. He's talking about whether he's rooting for him to win in Saskatoon (because they made the committment to go this route and he wants to see him win) or lose (because he wants to have access).  He's not talking about a decision, since he doesn't have the power to decide whether or not Saskatoon wins...OR DOES HE? No, not unless he acquired this power in the months following this year's WJC.

No, he's doing something we've seen him do before. In fact, it's one of my favorite Lombardi traits. He's thinking like a fan. Out-loud.

[...] "The other thing in the back of my mind is, is this really the stage to put the kid on? We’ll probably make the decision when the time comes. But I want this kid to win a Memorial Cup. It’s huge."

What decision? When his season in Saskatoon is done, the only decision is whether to send him to Manchester or LA. Am I supposed to believe he's going to send Schenn to Manchester when he clearly thinks he could help the Kings?

"To me there’s a difference between a great player and a winner. If you’ve reached the first step and become a top player and it’s taking responsibility for winning . . . I think a guy can learn that at a lower level. There is a school of thought that when you’re drafting or grading for a player you look at his history of winning."

My Lombardi code book tells me that he's only talking about what he wants for the kid, not what decisions he's going to make. Sort of like how we as fans say, which is better, for the Preds to beat the Ducks because we hate the Ducks, or for the Ducks to win because if we also win then WE play the Ducks? It's not a decision about a potential action. It's a decision about what to want.

I'm glad we have a GM who is willing to air the Faulknerian machinations of his process.

And I agree that it's an interesting philosophical question. Would it be better for Schenn to win the Memorial Cup, or for him to get knocked out of the WHL playoffs and then be able to help the Kings now? It would be better for Schenn to win the Memorial Cup than to suck for the Kings. But it would be better for him to lose in the WHL playoffs and make a difference for the Kings. But since we don't get to decide whether Saskatoon wins or loses, or whether they do it this week or in two months, and we can't know in advance what the outcome of this year's NHL playoffs, with or without Schenn, is going to be, the question is several layers of moot.

But it sounds to me like if Schenn is available, he will be wearing #10 ASAP.

By the way, while I was writing this, Saskatoon dropped game three. They're down 0-3 now. Game four is tomorrow night.