League fines Kings general manager Lombardi $50,000

TORONTO (Reuters) - Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi was fined $50,000 by the National Hockey League (NHL) Friday for comments made after his team's 2-0 defeat by the Phoenix Coyotes the previous day.

Lombardi, who was upset that a disputed second-period goal by Phoenix was allowed to stand after a review, suggested bias by Mike Murphy, the league's senior vice president of hockey operations.

"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," Commissioner Gary 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.

"I have spoken to Dean, who has apologized to Mike Murphy and to me and has acknowledged that his comments were wrong, inappropriate and without merit."

Bettman said Lombardi's fine would go to the NHL Foundation.

The disputed goal was scored by Martin Hanzal, who was in front of the net. Lombardi and the Kings claimed Hanzal redirected the puck with a high stick past the Los Angeles goaltender and into the net.

However, referee Justin St. Pierre, standing behind the net, immediately ruled the goal as good. After a five-minute review, Murphy said the goal would stand, given there was no conclusive evidence on the available video to overrule the ruling.

(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Rex Gowar)