Drew Doughty Drama Continues into Training Camp


Well, it’s official. Drew Doughty is not at camp on time. I’ll admit I never thought it would come to this.

Today on LA Kings Insider, Rich Hammond had a very interesting interview with Dean Lombardi. Here’s the link for the full interview:

http://lakingsinsider.com/2011/09/16/lombardi-on-doughtys-holdout/

If you don’t feel like reading the full interview, here’s the gist:

–         DL is disappointed Drew isn’t signed (obviously)

–         He felt that he and his team made this their #1 priority and offered him a fair deal almost as soon as the season was over so that all the other pieces could fall into place

–         Despite the current situation, he still believes wholeheartedly Drew will eventually sign and be a King for a long time, and he went out of his way to remind everyone how much they all still love Drew as a person and player

–         He said the current offer on the table is essentially as good as it’s going to get since the team has current and future salary cap implications to think about

–         Interestingly enough, he said a year’s worth of work is 275 days. $6.8 million divided by 275 days is $24,727.27 per day, or about $25k/day, which is why there is much speculation that Drew will make about $25,000 less per day that he does not sign

–         Drew and Dean have had little direct contact, but the lines are always open

Many people are angry that Drew hasn’t signed yet and the vast majority of the posts on Insider indicate fans are jumping off the Drew Doughty fanboat in droves. The main complaints against him are a) he’s selfish, b) he’s not as good as he thinks he is, c) he doesn’t have the stones to stick up to his agent and demand that he accept the deal, and d) he’s hurting the team and himself by not being in camp.

Maybe these things are true. I don’t think they are. Drew has every right to demand what he thinks he’s worth. If he doesn’t get it, he also has the right to sit out. I don’t expect him to sign something he doesn’t believe to be fair out of team loyalty. If I were signing away the next 7 years of my life, I’d want to be sure I was getting the best deal I could as well. But Drew may be trying to squeeze water out of a rock. Maybe, truly, the Kings’ offer is the best they could possibly offer.

Am I disappointed he hasn’t signed? Yes, I’m disappointed. But these things happen in sports all the time. It’s a giant game of poker, and DL is playing some serious hardball – which he should, since I think the Kings may have leverage. Drew is a restricted free agent and would have to be offer sheeted to go elsewhere, and if he hasn’t received that offer by now, I don’t think he’s going to receive one any time soon. Otherwise, the only team that can pay him is the Kings. Yes, the Kings would miss Doughty immensely. But unlike Drew, they DO have other options, namely Voynov, Muzzin or Deslauriers to step into his place.

The question then is which side will it hurt more if Drew does not sign? Will Drew miss hockey and the money more than Dean and the team miss his contributions? I think the answer to that question is yes, Drew will miss hockey and the money he could be making more than the Kings would miss him. I still think it’s Doughty that cracks.

Lastly, I believe that Dean, by breaking the vow of silence, has actually earned himself a great deal of public sympathy, and would be absolved of much blame should Doughty miss part of the season. Don Meehan, Drew’s agent is pulling the old George W. card by revealing little and expecting the public to take his side. Without telling his side of the story, Dean is the one who looks fair and accommodating while Meehan looks like a greedy money-grubber. Public perception in this thing does matter, and the longer this goes on, the more Drew’s reputation takes a nosedive. Already, I’ve gotten an offer to trade my extra Kopitar jersey for a Doughty jersey, which I will most certainly do.

Although I don’t hold a grudge against Drew, I just don’t see his end game here. I don’t blame him for thinking he’s worth more. A lot of us think we’re worth more than what we can get. The problem is, we’re only worth what the market tells us we’re worth, and the market out there for Doughty is non-existent beyond what the Kings can offer. So again, I think Doughty is trying to get what isn’t there.

It’s too bad. The focus this year should have been on how fantastic the Kings could be and how exciting training camp is for the players and fans. Instead, we’re sidetracked by an argument that is going nowhere fast.

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