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Dean Lombardi Verbal Gymnastics

Kicking of the exit interviews today, Rich Hammond had a simple question for Dean Lombardi. “When you look back at the season, where did you see progress and where did you expect to see progress that maybe you didn’t get?”

The answer, in typical Lombardi fashion, was over 1,300 words.

The response, via the comments section, predictably focused on the last sentence, “Ask me in two weeks and I’ll give you a longer-winded answer,” Lombardi quipped.

Jokes ensued. Clever comments posted. And it really is humorous and I do laugh. And I don’t blame all the readers for not wanting to actually analyze what he said because doing so means having to pick apart Lombardi’s verbal gymnastics. This is hardly ever an easy task. But alas, I tried and here is my response:

I know we will poke fun at DL for his answers, which is great. But for me, the “punch line” tends to lead us away from the point. I have some serious problems with what he says and here I’ll try to boil it down.

On the one hand, he talks about the recurring problems during the season (he calls it dealing with success, I call it losing focus) and how the playoffs were “almost like you’ve got a microcosm of some of the things you faced during the year, “ regarding losing the 4-0 lead.

Then he goes into the lack of playoff experience… “When I look at the experience of those guys, the three puck-movers who have to show poise, you’re dealing with (limited) playoff experience,” “…this goes through the whole series. It’s not just the end,” “The staple of our game, where was that? What was going on there? Those are the things that strike me. The poise level, the key defensive guys…”

This is a contradiction. My problem with his thinking is, he can’t have it both ways yet he tries to.

Either the problem during the season (whatever you want to call it) was the same/similar to the problem in the playoffs OR the problem in the playoffs was lack of experience, which has nothing to do with the problems during the regular season. (Regular season = basic pressure, Playoffs = enormous pressure)

Of course, I know he could say both, but he didn’t. He equated the two and then proceeded to contradict himself.

The other thing too, which he didn’t say, was the same thing happened 1 year ago against the Canucks. Did they learn from that? No.

So the bottom line is, what is the problem, cause and what is the solution?

I think we can all agree that the cause/solution is NOT simply more playoff pressure/experience because we know the same issues cropped up all year. So it can’t be that.

What it can be, and he didn’t directly address, is the approach (or game plan or system) that has been implemented by the coaching staff.

He alluded to it by saying, “I think that’s the thing we’ve got to figure out here now. It’s identifying your areas of strength and weakness first, and really identifying it.”

So what he’s saying is, he and TM haven’t figured out what the teams’ strengths and weaknesses are. I mean “really” identifying them. As opposed to “kind of” identifying them.

Ultimately, it’s DL’s job to bring in the players and TM’s job to implement a system that breeds success. It’s hardly as simple as players “dealing with success” better. Yet, it took him over 1,300 words to make a simple point that isn’t the problem or the cause or the solution.

But hey, he’s fun to listen to. He’s like a fan.

Yeah right.

2 comments to Dean Lombardi Verbal Gymnastics

  • Dominick

    Funny that you mentioned ” It’s hardly as simple as players “dealing with success” better”. He offered up that same explanation earlier in the season, and I thought then, that was too simplistic an answer for such a huge collapse. It just caught my eye when he used it again.

    I have a problem with that being the cause, because knowing your doing a great job shouldn’t lead to failure. Things breaking down around you and having your coaches telling you “maybe you weren’t that good to begin with” does though.

    What about the things that broke down?

  • Kingsfanone

    I commented on your post on Hammer’s site, and thought you nailed it then, and I still think so. Maybe it’s 1300 words so you can’t remember what the hell he said? I do drink the Lombardi Kool-Aid, but I think he needs to re-evaluate his coaches and maybe give them some further guidance. The problem with that is if you want your coaches to coach, it never hurts to give some guidance or assistance, as their boss, unless you feel you don’t want to meddle and just let them do their jobs.

    I have always felt that it’s just fine to let your guys do their thing on their own, but as their boss, it always pays dividends to give that extra help when you, as their boss, see something you don’t like or feel needs adjusting. After all, you are their boss and that is your job, to help your guys grow and get better.

    Never just rule and not teach because you fear someone may take your job. If you do a great job at teaching and leading, it can only help your stature as well. In the end, everyone (the players, the team, the organization) succeeds, and that always puts you in a good light!