Lisa Dillman (LA Times) article on Dean Lombardi

I’m sure you’ve all read this. I’m clipping it so I know where to find it later. Lisa Dillman should do more stories like this one.

Lisa Dillman (LA Times) – Dean Lombardi: A circuitous career for a circuitous

When Dean Lombardi landed his first job in the front office with an NHL franchise, he didn’t purchase a house by one of the 10,000-plus lakes in Minnesota or dabble in the rental apartment market.

This was the home address for a newly minted assistant general manager for six months: Met Center, Bloomington, Minn. The office of North Stars GM Jack Ferreira.

“He had it made,” said Ferreira, who is now a special assistant to Lombardi in Los Angeles. “There was a sofa in my office. A TV. Used to be a restaurant up top. The gal that ran it used to leave food for Dean at night.

“He had the keys to everything in the building. He’d go up there when he was hungry and fix himself something to eat. She’d always leave him food.”

[...] Flyers GM Bobby Clarke was largely responsible for pulling Lombardi out of the darkness after his dismissal from San Jose. Lombardi had been occupying himself on his farm in Northern California.

[...] “Thank God I had a place for manual labor. If I didn’t have that, I would have been a basket case.”

[...] [Lombardi] likes to quote Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, Winston Churchill and throw in a mention of Gettysburg. [...]

“He’s a very intense guy,” said Kings center Mike Richards. “I think I was in there about two hours the first trip I was down here in July, just talking about everything. He’s a unique, intense GM.

“Dean wears his heart on his sleeve. If there’s something that needs to be said, he doesn’t beat around the bush. He’s not shy to voice his opinion.”

Lombardi will even quiz reporters on obscure passages from movies before answering their questions.

“That’s just Dean,” Richards said. “That’s how he gets his metaphors across. You’ll get the point by the end of it.”

[...]

“He likes to propose questions that he’s already researched any answer that you could possibly give back to him,” said Kings defenseman Matt Greene. “So he has his rebuttal ready.”

Lombardi is used to getting teased about his lengthy meetings with players in his office.

“I enjoy that part of the job,” he said. “Maybe it’s like my wife said, because we don’t have kids, you think you’ve got 20 at the rink. Other than winning, the second-best part of the job is watching these guys be the best they can, watching them grow up.

“Watching them make mistakes on and off the ice. But then watching them hug each other when they have success is the best part of this job.”