Originally Posted by Rich Hammond
Dean Lombardi declined the interview request but gave the following statement: ``The Kings take the utmost pride in how our organization treats its players and its staff. Not only do we treat everyone fairly and top-shelf, it is a priority for our organization.''
A team official also sought to clarify some of the accusations made by Cloutier. Specifically...
-- The Vancouver Sun describes the lead-up to Cloutier's hip surgery last year by reporting, ``In pain, Cloutier flew to Colorado in a middle economy-class seat and was lodged by the Kings at a Super-8 Motel about 50 kilometres from the clinic where he was treated daily.''
According to the Kings, Cloutier insisted upon having the surgery as soon as possible, which meant booking flights and a hotel on Jan. 11, 2007 for a Jan. 12, 2007 surgery. That was a holiday weekend (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) and there was only one available flight to Vail, Colo. According to the Kings, that was OK with Cloutier. The Comfort Inn in Vail, located 10 miles from the clinic, was the only hotel to have rooms available on three consecutive nights, and the Kings decided to book that rather than have Cloutier change hotels mid-trip. The clinic later found a different hotel for Cloutier and his wife, and the Kings paid for all five nights.
-- The Vancouver Sun describes Cloutier's time in Manchester by reporting, ``Cloutier's wife, Nikki, accompanied her husband to the American League, where they lived in a hotel. They were expecting their first baby in December. As the due date neared, Cloutier asked the Kings to move them into an apartment. The team balked and said the Cloutiers should stay in their hotel. I said: 'I can't, we're expecting a baby here. I don't know if it's a big thing to you guys, but to me it's the most important thing,'" Cloutier said. "Finally, I called the [Players' Association] and they said after 28 days you're entitled to get a place."''
(This has been updated, because of a clarification on a second phone call)... According to the Kings, the Cloutiers stayed in the team-provided hotel room for an undetermined period of time, after which the Kings asked Cloutier ``to continue in that situation'' -- meaning to stay in the hotel rather than get him an apartment. (I'm still awaiting more clarification from the Kings on this part of the story)
I asked for a bit more clarification, particularly in terms of whether Cloutier's hip injury was ever downplayed by anyone in the organization. When I hear back, I'll post it...