A frustrated Lombardi was unhappy with Murphy's decision to uphold a goal by Phoenix Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal in a game against the Kings on Thursday.
It appeared that Hanzal directed the puck into net with a high stick but the on-ice officials ruled it a good goal. A lengthy review by the NHL's video review office in Toronto proved inconclusive and thus the call on the ice was allowed to stand. The goal proved to be the winner in a 2-0 verdict, as the Kings lost for the 10th time in 12 games.
After the game, Lombardi suggested that Murphy, second in command to NHL vice president Colin Campbell in hockey operations, might not be objective about the Kings, seeing as he once applied for -- but failed to land -- the team's GM's position.
"When the guy in Toronto making the decisions on the goals, in Ottawa and the one tonight, wanted the GM'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," Lombardi was quoted as saying on the Kings' website.
"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."
The Ottawa reference was in relation to L.A.'s Nov. 22 game against the Senators when the on-ice officiating crew and video review team in Toronto disallowed Ryan Smyth's potential game-tying goal with three seconds left in the game.
Not surprisingly, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman came down hard on Lombardi about the comments made on Thursday.
"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," Bettman said in a statement.
"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,"
Lombardi told the Toronto-based cable network TSN that he called Murphy on Friday morning to apologize for his remarks, and that Murphy graciously accepted his apology.
"In the end things swelter and eventually it blows," Lombardi said, "but I woke up this morning and said, boy was that stupid, so I called Murph and apologized."
"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," said Lombardi in a statement released by the Kings. "There is no question that his assessment is correct and the punishment fits the crime."
"Like the team must learn from its mistakes, the GM has to learn from his mistakes as well."
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