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Kings' Lombardi, Murray face hefty fines

Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi and Coach Terry Murray are likely to be hit with sizeable fines for their criticism of a disputed call that was made on the ice and upheld by the NHL’s hockey operations department Thursday during the team’s 2-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes at Staples Center.

Commissioner Gary Bettman was in touch with the Kings Friday to express his displeasure, as could be expected when a team executive questions the integrity of a league vice president as Lombardi did in discussing Mike Murphy. The NHL does not publicly announce every fine it imposes against a team or player but might let these fines be known to serve as a deterrent to other coaches and general managers.

Lombardi is likely to be hit hardest because he impugned the character of Murphy, a vice president of hockey operations, after Murphy did not overturn on-ice officials’ ruling on a goal that appeared to have been scored by Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal with his stick above the height of the crossbar.

Lombardi referred to another disputed call that went against the Kings earlier this season and to Murphy’s previous pursuit of the general manager’s job in telling Lakings.com, the team’s website, that “you have to assume you are going to get those type of calls,” implying that Murphy is biased.

Murray questioned the purpose of video replay in such circumstances if the league won’t overturn a call that appeared to have been incorrectly made on the ice. 

Shortly after the goal was allowed to stand, Murphy told The Times, "Refs on the ice had it a goal. We felt the views we had were not conclusive to overrule the refs' call on the ice."

Lombardi reportedly apologized to Murphy, a former Kings player and coach. Lombardi also acknowledged his comments were motivated partly by a desire to deflect attention from his team's struggles.

The Kings, who have lost 10 of their last 12 games, next play the Coyotes on Saturday at Glendale, Ariz. Another loss could give Lombardi and Murray more to worry about than paying a fine to the NHL.

-- Helene Elliott

 
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