After front office shakeups in Florida and Vancouver, the Los Angeles Kings got in on Monday’s action and fired head coach Darryl Sutter. They also canned general manager Dean Lombardi and hired Luc Robitaille as president. Rob Blake was brought in as the new general manager and team vice president.
“This was an extremely difficult decision and was made with an enormous amount of consideration for what we have accomplished in our past,” AEG president and chief executive officer Dan Beckerman said. “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.”
The Kings finished the regular season with a 39-35-8 record, good for fifth in the Pacific Division.
They had some rough luck down the stretch and lost goalie Jonathan Quick in the home opener. He didn’t return until February 25, but Los Angeles didn’t improve much and struggled to score goals. They were tied with the fifth fewest goals in the league with just 201.
Sutter and Lombardi led the Kings to their first Stanley Cup in 2012 and took home another in 2014, transforming the club from perennial also-rans to a group with winning expectations. Unfortunately, the slide began after the 2014 win and Los Angeles missed the post-season in two of the last three shots. They lost to San Jose in the first round of last season’s playoffs, too.
Sutter leaves the Kings having won more games than any coach in franchise history. His 225-147-53 record stands as impressive by anyone’s standards.
And Lombardi piled up 425 wins as general manager, the most of any general manager in Los Angeles hockey history. He was hired for the post in 2006 and had a year left on his contract.
The Kings will now look to two Hall of Fame players to get the job done.
Robitaille will oversee all hockey and business operations in the front office, while Blake was serving as Lombardi’s assistant general manager and will now handle the workload. Robitaille had been working as president of business operations with the Kings since May of 2007, plus he serves as the team’s alternate governor alongside Beckerman and Lombardi.