Kings talk legal action against Oilers
Derek Van Diest, QMI Agency
|Lombardi told the Los Angeles Times he feels the Kings received damaged goods in Colin Fraser, who was dealt for Ryan Smyth in June. (REUTERS)
Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi is not happy with the Edmonton Oilers and made his feeling clear on Friday.
Lombardi told the Los Angeles Times he feels the Kings received damaged goods in Colin Fraser, who was dealt for Ryan Smyth in June.
“The bottom line for me, I would have rather invested my money with Bernie Madoff than invest in Edmonton’s word,” Lombardi told Helene Elliott of the Times.
He went on to add the Kings would “look at our legal avenues” to resolve the issue.
The Oilers chose not to comment on the situation.
Fraser was sent to Los Angeles in the deal that brought Smyth back to Edmonton.
Originally the Oilers were going to trade Gilbert Brule to the Kings after Smyth requested a trade out of Los Angeles for family reasons with one year left on his contract.
That deal fell through, however, when the Kings brought up concerns about Brule’s health. The Oilers centre was limited to 41 games due to a variety of ailments.
Wanting to get the deal done, the two sides came to an agreement on Fraser and a seventh-round pick in next year’s NHL Entry Draft.
Fraser took a shot off the foot late last season and was forced to miss the final two weeks of the year.
Lombardi said the Oilers told the Kings that Fraser was just days away from being cleared. But according to team doctors in Los Angeles, that does not appear to be the case as they found a cyst and a blood disorder in his foot.
“He’s not anywhere near being cleared to play according to our doctors and in fact is going to need surgery,” Lombardi told Elliott.
Lombardi also said Tim Leiweke, the CEO of the team’s parent company AEG, approached the Oilers to barter a settlement.
“Tim has made several overtures to try and settle this in a fair manner to put the deal back where it’s supposed to and we’ve gotten no response,” Lombardi said. “So the heck with it, we’ll look at our legal avenues right now.
“This kid needs surgery now, which is going to put him out four months. It’s not even close. To be told he’s going to be cleared that Wednesday and now we get him and he’s clearly not cleared and to clear him he’s going to need surgery … and that’s the one (injury) they told me about, let alone the other two. On the heels of Brule? Holy smoke.”
Fraser, 26, had three goals and two assists in 67 games for the Oilers last season.
“In my 20 years I’ve never had this happen once, let alone twice in one week,” Lombardi said. “And people used to think maybe I was crazy but when I was scouting for Philly, Edmonton was my favourite city because of the history of the building and the crowds seemed like honest, working-class people. You still had a blue-collar feel at times. And I don’t think this conduct is emblematic of that city at all.”