Kings Fire Coach Darryl Sutter, GM Dean Lombardi

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The Los Angeles Kings fired Head Coach Darryl Sutter and General Manager Dean Lombardi after missing the Playoffs 2 out of the last 3 seasons.

The Los Angeles Kings fired coach Darryl Sutter and general manager Dean Lombardi on Monday. The two men led the franchise to its only two Stanley Cup championships in the history of the franchise.

The Kings also promoted defenceman Rob Blake to vice-president and general manager, while longtime executive Luc Robitaille has been promoted to team president in charge of all hockey and business operations.

Since shortly after his playing career ended, Blake has been an assistant to Lombardi, who has run the Kings since April 2006. Lombardi built a Cup-winning franchise, but most of his recent moves haven’t panned out.

Robitaille has been in charge of the Kings’ business operations for the past several years. Both Blake and Robitaille are Hall of Fame players.

“This was an extremely difficult decision and was made with an enormous amount of consideration for what we have accomplished in our past,” said Dan Beckerman, the president of AEG, the sports conglomerate that owns the Kings. “But the present and future of our organization is the highest priority.”

The Kings (39-35-8) missed the playoffs this spring for the second time in three years with their worst record since 2009. They finished 10th in the 14-team Western Conference, fading down the stretch with a team that struggled to keep up with faster, younger opponents.

“Words cannot express our gratitude and appreciation for what Dean and Darryl have accomplished for the Kings franchise,” Beckerman said. “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.”

This brings an abrupt end to the best era that the Kings have ever had and I can only imagine what other types of changes may be on the way for Los Angeles in the coming months. One thing is for sure, Dean Lombardi and Darryl Sutter likely won’t be out of work too long.

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