KINGS

Kings GM Dean Lombardi likes what he sees . . . in the minors

Kings are struggling, but General Manager Dean Lombardi is pleased with progress of minor league players

Not only are they winning games, but the players also are improving in the little areas, not just "sexy stuff" of eye-popping statistics.

And so, the general manager was liking the view. Kings GM Dean Lombardi isn't easily pleased and his satisfaction came across in a conversation Monday afternoon.

However, the kudos were not about the Kings.

Lombardi likes to walk the "shop floor" and he has done that in recent days, taking in six games with the Kings' American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H., and holding meetings with his developmental staff.

"I don't really go there to look for somebody to jump out," Lombardi said in a telephone interview while in transit to Boston.

"They're all getting better, getting better than they were last year at this time. Learning to be pros, learning to play a 200-foot game. A lot of times, the improvement is not the sexy stuff."

Manchester is 17-6-1 and the pipeline is looking good with the likes of center Nick Shore at the top of the list.

Less pleasing is the current state of the Kings. They've won one of their last five games and Lombardi will be joining the team in St. Louis, a previously scheduled plan to get a firsthand view of Tuesday's game.

Lombardi also indicated he was not close to making a trade, even a minor one.

It has rarely been his style to make a trade for the sake of making one or when the Kings have not been in a position of strength.

KINGS TUESDAY

At ST. LOUIS

When: 5 PST.

On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 790.

Etc. With the Kings in town, perhaps St. Louis Coach Ken Hitchcock was channeling his inner Darryl Sutter. The St. Louis press corps was taken by surprise Monday when Hitchcock said he hadn't decided who would be the starting goaltender for Tuesday's game.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

Twitter: @reallisa

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