Dean Lombardi

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

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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.

Ulf Samuelsson leaves Rangers, takes Carolina’s AHL gig

Ulf Samuelsson, Alain Vigneault
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The ‘Canes made a fairly big coaching splash on Tuesday, announcing they hired New York Rangers assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson to become the new bench boss in AHL Charlotte.

“Ulf has built a very strong coaching resume during a decade behind the bench in the AHL, NHL and Swedish league,” Carolina GM Ron Francis said in a release. “He has a proven history of helping to develop young players and understands the organizational culture that we are building here.”

Samuelsson, who won back-to-back Stanley Cups with Francis in Pittsburgh during the 90s, has spent the last three seasons as Alain Vigneault’s right-hand man in New York, helping the Rangers advance to the Stanley Cup Final in ’14 and the Eastern Conference Final last season.

Prior to joining the Rangers, he spent two seasons as head coach for Modo of the Swedish Hockey League.

Samuelsson will replace Mark Morris in Charlotte, after Morris accepted the head coaching gig at St. Lawrence University. Morris had only been on the job for one year, having inherited the position from former ‘Cane Jeff Daniels.

Report: Marleau won’t face supplemental discipline for hit on Rust

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It sounds like Patrick Marleau won’t be suspended for his hit on Penguins forward Bryan Rust (top) in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

After the game, Marleau told reporters that he was pretty confident he wouldn’t be suspended and it sounds like he’s right.

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan didn’t see things the same way.

“It’s a blindside hit to the head,” he said. “[Marleau] gets a penalty and I’m sure the league will look at it.”

Marleau was given a two-minute penalty for an illegal hit to the head on the play.

Rust played a single shift after taking the hit, but he went to the locker room after that and didn’t return. Sullivan said he’s day-to-day. It’s unclear if Rust will practice with the team on Tuesday.

Former Flyer Rick MacLeish passes away at age 66

MacLeish
Flyers.nhl.com
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Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Rick MacLeish passed away on Monday night. He was 66-years-old. The organization confirmed the news early Tuesday morning. MacLeish was battling meningitis as well as kidney and liver problems, per Philly.com.

“With the passing of Rick MacLeish, the Flyers have lost one of their legends,” Flyers President Paul Holmgren said in a release. “A good father, grandfather, teammate and friend, Rick will be missed by all who were fortunate to come and know him over the years. His happy and friendly demeanor was front and center everywhere Rick went. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with Rick’s wife, Charlene, his daughters, Danielle and Brianna along with his grandchildren. May he rest in peace.”

MacLeish first put on a Flyers jersey during the 1970-71 season. He would go on to score 349 goals and 759 points in 846 NHL games with Philadelphia, Hartford, Pittsburgh and Detroit. MacLeish also scored what is considered to be the most important goal in Flyers history when he netted the opening goal in Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final against Boston. The Flyers would clinch their first Stanley Cup that night.

He won a pair of Stanley Cups with the Flyers and was named an NHL All-Star three times in his career.

PHT Morning Skate: Nick Bonino has been pretty clutch this postseason

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Pascal Dupuis wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune.

Matt Cullen also wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune called “Hockey Dad”.

Dainius Zubrus is making his third trip to the cup final, but he still hasn’t won one. (Puck Daddy)

–Watch the highlights from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. (Top)

–Here’s the Punjabi call of Nick Bonino‘s game-winning goal. (Streamable)

–Speaking of Bonino, he’s been pretty clutch this postseason:

–The NHL still wants to play an outdoor game on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (Ottawa Sun)