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Kings' Lombardi kept an eye on the kids

Thomas Hickey lifts the trophy.Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi was in the audience in Ottawa for the gold-medal game at the World Junior Hockey Championships, and he knew that no matter who won Monday, he couldn't lose.

Canada beat Sweden, 5-1, to win its fifth consecutive title, with team captain Thomas Hickey -- the Kings' first-round pick and fourth overall selection in the 2007 entry draft -- getting to lift the trophy over his head and kiss it, Stanley Cup-style (pictured at left).

Colten Teubert, a rangy, shut-down defenseman who was the Kings' first-round pick and 13th overall choice last June, was also part of the winning team.

Forward Oscar Moller, who was with the Kings but was granted leave to play for his homeland, was captain of the Tre Kronor, as Sweden's team is known because of the three crowns on the front of players' jerseys. And lest we forget -- we almost did, but an alert reader mentioned it in response to an earlier post -- Kings defense prospect Viatcheslav Voynov won a bronze medal with Russia on Monday after a 5-2 victory over Slovakia in the third-place game.

Lombardi said via e-mail that Moller will accompany him back to Los Angeles. There's no timetable for when Hickey and Teubert will join the Kings, but Lombardi liked what he saw of both, who will return to their junior teams.

"Hickey knows how to critique himself -- that's one of the reasons he's captain," Lombardi said. "The pressure of 'Captain Canada,' as they say up here, is incredible, but it is an incredible growth experience.

"His self-critique when I saw him after the game was right on: 'I did not play my best hockey but we got the gold.' And he was not being a politician. 

"Teubert did well for his first tournament at this level of play. He has a lot to learn, but he will never cheat you."

For Kings fans, tired of seeing draft picks fail (when they weren't traded for over-the-hill former stars) the tournament seems like a win-win situation.

-- Helene Elliott

Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz / Getty Images

 
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