In what might be a shock to many Los Angeles Kings fans, the team, owned by AEG, has fired head coach Darryl Sutter and General Manager Dean Lombardi. They also announced, “Luc Robitaille has been named club President and will now oversee all hockey and business operations, and Rob Blake has been named Vice President and General Manager, and will direct all day to day hockey operations for the organization.”
Sutter was hired in 2011 and has posted the best record for coaches in the Kings’ history: 225-147-53 over 425 games in the regular season (the games coached is second all-time) and in the playoffs the Kings were 42-27, which is also a franchise record.
Since becoming the V.P. and General Manager in 2006 Lombardi has become the longest tenured G.M. in team history with a record of 425-339-104 over 868 games both the most among Kings general managers all-time; His playoff record with the Kings is 46-35, which is also the best for G.M.’s in team history.
In their press release the Kings organization acknowledged both Lombardi and Sutter were the best G.M. and head coach the team has had and were instrumental in the Kings’ two Stanley Cups (2012, 2014).
Dan Beckerman, President and CEO of AEG, said, “This was an extremely difficult decision and was made with an enormous amount of consideration for what we have accomplished in our past. But the present and future of our organization is the highest priority. Words cannot express our gratitude and appreciation for what Dean and Darryl have accomplished for the Kings franchise. They built this team and helped lead us to two Stanley Cup Championships and will forever be remembered as all-time greats in Kings history. But with that level of accomplishment comes high expectations and we have not met those expectations for the last three seasons. With the core players we have in place, we should be contending each year for the Stanley Cup. Our failure to meet these goals has led us to this change.”
As for Robitaille and Blake, Beckerman said, “This restructuring of the front-office will establish a single leader of the organization that will provide a unified vision, focus and alignment between the team side and the business side. It mirrors the same structure we recently implemented with the LA Galaxy and it will not only enable the integration of these two sides of the club into a single organization but will bring symmetry between the Kings and Galaxy.”
You can read the full text of the announcement on the L.A. Kings website.
Below is a video report by Claudia Gestro from the Kings’ press conference Tuesday, plus the last home game of the season and Bob Miller’s final Staples Center broadcast as the Kings’ play-by-play man.
Photos by Claudia Gestro – Top photo: Former Kings head coach Darryl Sutter