As stated in the past, we love Dean Lombardi.
That’s exactly what he did in speaking with NHL.com about his head coach, Darryl Sutter.
Take it away, Deano…
“There are so many things I can say. You gotta start with the man. There is honesty to him and a very underrated intelligence. Everyone wants to paint him as a farmer, but this guy had a full boat to Princeton, and quite frankly if he had gone that way I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy was on Wall Street right now. He is very sharp but because he’s a cowboy, us liberal intellects from the Northeast want to label him as stupid. We tend to do that. That’s the thing that is really underrated here.
“So, it’s the honesty of the man, the intelligence of the man, and how players that played for him respect him.
“The other thing is he has an identity. Unfortunately today it’s hard to have an identity because we want to please everybody, so we become a phony and stand for nothing. If you’re going to have an identity, yeah, some people aren’t going to like it, but at least it’s honest. It doesn’t mean you’re rude to anybody. He gives your team an identity, but it’s still about the players.
“I also sensed he was going to be a better coach having seen the big picture as a general manager and having taken seven months off at the farm. I thought he would be a better coach than he was before.”
In the spirit of giving due credit, Lombardi deserves a lion’s share for hiring Sutter after his disastrous GM stint in Calgary.
Here’s what The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau wrote at the time of the hire:
The idea that Sutter – who never met a smile he couldn’t turn upside down – represents the perfect elixir for what ails the struggling Kings is one that doesn’t sit right with me. You can’t tell me the problem with young stars such as Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar is that they haven’t had a miserable taskmaster breathing down their backs.
That “miserable taskmaster” is now 33-14-11 since taking over the Kings, in case you were wondering.