The Los Angeles Kings will soon announce contract extensions for general manager Dean Lombardi and head coach Darryl Sutter, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Lombardi’s deal is believed to be a four-year extension that will run through 2016-17. Length of term for Sutter wasn’t clear, though the Times’ Helene Elliott reports it will be a “long-term agreement.”
The extension culminates a stunning turnaround for Lombardi. It was only 13 months ago he fired head coach Terry Murray with the Kings sitting 12th in the Western Conference — looking nothing like a playoff team, let alone a Stanley Cup contender.
But facing the most intense pressure and scrutiny of his tenure in Los Angeles, Lombardi went bold.
He rolled the dice by acquiring Jeff Carter at the trade deadline — described as a “career Hail Mary” — but it paid off beautifully, giving LA forward depth that played a key role en route to the Cup win.
Lombardi’s other masterstroke was bringing aboard Sutter, who transformed the Kings into an aggressive, hard-checking group.
He strayed from Murray’s defensive-first scheme, allowing players more freedom offensively, and the shift paid off brilliantly as the Kings ran roughshod through the playoffs, losing just four games over the course of four rounds.
“I’m excited about the prospect of continuing my partnership with Darryl as we strive to keep the team among the elite in the NHL,” Lombardi told the Times.
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.