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Kings' Lombardi fined $50,000 for comments

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Los Angeles Kings President and General Manager Dean Lombardi has been fined $50,000 for comments made following Thursday night's game against the Phoenix Coyotes.

'There is no acceptable explanation or excuse for commentary challenging the integrity of the League's Hockey Operations Department in general or Mike Murphy, in particular," Commissioner Gary Bettman said.

'People can disagree with a call by an official on the ice or an official in the Situation Room in Toronto, but even in instances of the utmost frustration there is no justification for speaking as inappropriately and irresponsibly as Mr. Lombardi did," Commissioner Bettman added. 'Mike Murphy is a devoted caretaker of the game. His commitment to the National Hockey League, all 30 of its Clubs – and to the game – is beyond challenge, question or debate.

"I have spoken to Dean, who has apologized to Mike Murphy and to me and has acknowledged that his comments were wrong, inappropriate and without merit," Commissioner Bettman said.
The money goes to the NHL Foundation.

In his post-game comments to reporters after the Kings lost 2-0 to visiting Phoenix, Lombardi suggested bias on the part of Murphy, the NHL's senior vice president of hockey operations. Lombardi was upset that a disputed second-period goal by Martin Hanzal of Phoenix was allowed to stand after a five-minute review.

On the play, Hanzal was in front of the net and Lombardi and the Kings contend Hanzal redirected the puck with a high stick past the Los Angeles goalie and into the net. Referee Justin St. Pierre, standing behind the net, immediately ruled it a good goal.

The play was immediately reviewed and, after a lengthy deliberation, the call on the ice was allowed to stand by Murphy. According to several reports, Murphy said that there was a lack of conclusive evidence on the available video to overrule the ruling on the ice.

After the game, Lombardi suggested that Murphy was interested in the Kings' general manager's position but did not get the job. Murphy played for and coached with the Kings before joining the League offices.

"When the guy in Toronto making the decisions on the goals, in Ottawa (in a Nov. 22 game) and the one tonight, wanted the G.M.'s job in L.A. and was not happy about not getting it, you have to assume you are going to get those type of calls.

"However, we have put ourselves in a position where these calls have a monumental effect on our season, and we're going to have to find a way out of it ourselves."

Lombardi's reference to Ottawa concerned another disputed goal call that went against the Kings this season. In a November game against the Senators, forward Ryan Smyth appeared to have scored a goal for the Kings, but it was waved off by the on-ice officials, a decision upheld during the video-review process.

"I spoke to the Commissioner today and he made it very clear to me that my actions last night were inappropriate and detrimental to the game," Lombardi said in a statement released Friday. "There is no question that his assessment is correct and the punishment fits the crime. Just as important, I apologized to Mike Murphy this morning and I sincerely appreciate his willingness to accept my apology. Like the team must learn from its mistakes, the GM has to learn from his mistakes as well.

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