I have to run, but here are my notes from Lawton on Fan590 just now: (don't have time to edit)
...found out day and a half ago he would be let go.
Vinik told him himself.
The meeting between Lawton and Vinik was cordial, Lawton calls him a terrific guy and says he will do wonderful a job in Tampa.
"Whenever you have new owners, you know [being let go is] a potential outcome," said Lawton.
They contemplated this (Lawton not being retained) in first meeting with Vinik. At that time Lawton promised to transfer everything he knew about the club in writing and they'd figure things out on the fly.
Lawton wishes to thank Vinik for the opportunity to be GM; he is very thankful; learned a lot.
Lawton said the reality is on June 24 he was given an opportunity to run all hockey opps; did it for 9 months. This is too short (a time frame) to judge people. "We had a tremendous draft." Mentions Hedman, trading up for Ashton, Panik, Hutchings and his 47 goals, and Janus. He's proud of the scouting staff at the draft.
They continued that success in free agency - Proud to land Ohlund. To be able to convince someone like Ohlund to come to TB was good... Also mentioned Matt Walker, and Foster at 600k.
Staff did a great job in Tampa... "Like the old Ford commercial when you open the hood, the closer you look, the better we are.
Proud of their work, proud of the people, mentioned Kurvers... "I see today... Kurvers in in charge... He'll do fantastic."
Q: What happened in general at O-break?
"When we sat down as management group and looked at schedule... were concerned about how club was playing - last 3 games we lost - before that we got some wins, but on goaltending and outstanding individual efforts." Weren't happy with team.
We were playing 5 elite teams out of the o-break gate; knew it'd be tough go; tried to implement some things; did talk to Rick about changes; ownership approved those changes, they just never really worked.
Tocchet was 100 percent aware of Walz being fired.
Q: Issues with Tocc?
"Rick Tocchet is a good guy... I never had an opportunity to interview and hire my own coach. As GM it's my duty to help him succeed in his duty and get best out of him. Philosophical differences in approach to game.
It was a good team (when you look at the lineup); should have done better... (complimentary) Rick did the best job he could.... You move on.
Jimmy (Johnson) did a phenomenal job with NF. It wasn't just the players. Rock solid system. Lawton felt it would make his group better. Johnson ended up being the video coach. Never got on the ice. Not one team meeting. Hurt the group, no doubt about it.
Q: Did you want to fire Rick?
Did not have authority to make change.
Did you ask? LB: Just assume leave that alone.
How was it with Koules/Barrie?
Can't talk about ownership. Players were always paid.
Life got a lot better on June 24. We were able to accomplish a lot. There weren't any complaints. No whining.
Last edited by chad; 04-12-2010 at 01:04 PM.