Dean Lombardi

After locking up Kings’ core, Lombardi ‘100 percent’ confident there’ll be no complacency


On Thursday, the Kings locked up captain Dustin Brown with an eight-year, $47 million deal — the latest in a series of moves designed to keep the team’s core intact.

Brown, Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick, Robyn Regehr, Mike Richards, Jarret Stoll, Slava Voynov and Justin Williams are all signed through 2015 — with Brown, Carter, Doughty, Quick, Voynov and Richards locked in ’til 2019.

But according to L.A. GM Dean Lombardi, there’s zero worry about guys not having to play for contracts.

“I am a hundred per cent that there isn’t going to be complacency with these kids,” Lombardi said during Thursday’s conference call. “You have to trust the character of your players.”

Lombardi’s logic makes sense. Following their 2012 Stanley Cup win, the Kings didn’t suffer through the usual post-Stanley hangover — they finished fifth in the West, led the NHL in home wins (19) and advanced to the Western Conference final, losing to eventual Cup champs Chicago.

In doing so, the Kings became the first team since the 2008-09 Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup and advance to the conference final the following year.

In short, not much complacency.

And that lack of complacency often starts with Brown, a fierce competitor that has spent his entire career in Los Angeles and served as captain since 2008.

Lombardi lauded Brown’s team-first approach to contract negotiations — Brown reportedly negotiated his own deal — and said the captain made his deal more about L.A.’s cap situation, rather than himself.

“He has a passionate caring for this franchise and is totally embedded in being part of it be successful,” Lombardi said of Brown. “That’s the hallmark, first and foremost, of any great leader, and he just resonates that whenever you’re around him.”

It will be interesting, however, to see how the Kings manage their financial picture moving forward.

Lombardi has spent large to retain seven players in particular — Brown, Kopitar, Richards, Carter, Doughty, Voynov and Quick — who will cost the club just over $40 million annually beginning in 2014-15.

Tyler Johnson’s injury: One of several ominous signs for Tampa Bay

Carl Gunnarsson, Tyler Johnson
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The gloom only seems to lift from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s cloudy season in small drizzles.

Sure, they’re on a three-game winning streak, but the Washington Capitals seem to be on the verge of ending that with a thud (they’re currently up 3-0 going into the third period).

That’s the least of the Bolts’ concerns right now, really, as Tyler Johnson left Friday’s game seemingly injured.

The word seemingly comes into play because details are scarce, as reporters note.

/ominous music plays

If you look at Tampa Bay’s upcoming schedule, things could get downright stormy.

They face the Islanders at home, but they do so tomorrow so they won’t be well-rested. It gets worse from there.

Dec. 2 – 6: Three-game road trip against the California teams

Dec. 10 – 12: Two home games (one vs. Ottawa, one vs. Washington)

Dec. 14-18: Another three-game road trip

Long story short, they close up a back-to-back set at home tomorrow and then play six of eight on the road.

/even more ominous music

The end of 2015 looks friendlier, but for a team that seems to be cratering here and there … things look a bit morbid.

We’ll see if they can keep fighting, perhaps with a comeback tonight?

The ghost is here: Another OT-winner from Flyers’ Gostisbehere

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Here’s an easy way to remember how to spell Shayne Gostisbehere’s maddening last name (and even his first name can trip you up).

Ghost-is-be-here, without the h.

Not too bad, right?

If you’re more of the slogan type, it’s getting to be the point where “Tough to spell, tougher to stop” may be a pretty good one-liner.

The Philadelphia Flyers phenom has made a habit of scoring overtime game-winning goals on the power play lately. Friday’s version was the decisive tally in a 3-2 OT win against the Nashville Predators, which you can watch up top.

As you can see in comparing that goal with the one below (which made the difference against the Carolina Hurricanes), opposing coaches may want to make it a point to emphasize stopping this setup, even if it means writing “Don’t let that Ghost kid free.”

All three of his goals are on the power play so far.

Will he breathe life back into the Flyers’ man advantage at this rate?

Julien says Lundqvist’s acting ‘doesn’t need to be on the ice’


The goalie interference penalty called on Brad Marchand late in Friday’s Thanksgiving Showdown didn’t sit well with the Bruins.

Marchand, whistled after making contact with New York’s Henrik Lundqvist midway through the third, said he thought “it was a bit of a weak call,” adding “[Lundvqist’s] out of the crease, and he lightly gets touched.”

While Marchand took issue with the call, his head coach took issue with King Henrik.

(In Julien’s defense, Lundqvist does have a pretty lengthy IMDB page.)

The interference penalty was nearly disastrous for the Bruins, as J.T. Miller scored on the ensuing power play to given the Blueshirts a 3-2 edge.

However, Boston replied with a power-play goal of its own — Ryan Spooner, at the 16:14 mark — which set the stage for David Krejci‘s dramatic game-winner with just under two minutes to go.

So, to recap: Today’s game had the Beleskey hit on Stepan, the Marchand-Lundqvist theatrics and a dramatic come-from-behind victory for Boston.

And so, to answer your next question:

These two teams next meet on Monday, Jan. 11, at MSG.

Related: Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

Video: Peluso, Gabriel throw down in spirited heavyweight tilt


The big boys got after it early in Minnesota today.

Wild forward Kurtis Gabriel — all 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds of him — picked one of the toughest opponents in hockey on Friday, throwing down with Jets enforcer Anthony Peluso early in the first period.

And it was a pretty good tilt.

Peluso, one of the league’s most feared fighters, was coming off two pretty heavy scraps — one against Columbus tough guy Jared Boll, and another in which he landed some serious shots on overmatched Canucks d-man Luca Sbisa:

Of course, Gabriel’s no slouch.

He had one previous fight in the NHL this year (against Peluso’s teammate, Chris Thorburn) and five in the American League, where he’s spent the majority of this season.

Given the fisticuffs that occurred earlier in the Bruins-Rangers game, it seem the NHL has really gotten into the spirit of Black Friday.

(All videos courtesy