OK, here we go. For those who enjoy soap operas, strap in…
We started with Blake’s statement that the Kings never made him an offer, and with my clarification that Blake’s agent, Pat Brisson, had called Lombardi on Tuesday morning with a one-year, $4-million contract request.
So here’s the time line, according to Lombardi, with quotes from Lombardi added where appropriate.
Sunday: Brisson calls Lombardi at night to talk about Blake. Lombardi said, “I talked to his agent for two hours. We talked about a lot of things. The whole point was, we didn’t talk contract but I was interested in making sure he understood the role and how important the role was. This is the year we actually start becoming a young team and I needed to know, what were Rob’s priorities as a hockey player?”
Tuesday: At 9:05 a.m., Brisson submits a contract request. Numbers aren’t confirmed, but trust me on this one, it was $4 million. Lombardi said, “I got a non-negotiable offer at 9 o’clock and was told we had to hurry. I texted (Brisson) back because it was very clear that there was no room to move on their end. I told him we had to look at a number of things to make this fit. We were looking at other players and certain deals. I said, `We’re not prepared to commit that type of money. We want to look at all our options but we want to bring him back.”’
Tuesday afternoon/evening: Lombardi and Brisson exchange e-mails. Lombardi said, “I forget the exact sequence. We exchanged two e-mails. One of them outlined the process we were going through. He said, `Fine, but we’re not changing our (offer) number.”’
Tuesday night: Blake and Lombardi spoke on the phone. Lombardi said, “Rob called me. He was honest. He said, `I don’t think I can wait.’ I knew San Jose had been talking to him. I said, `I can’t hurry this. I’m not sure yet what we can offer. We know what your number is. We’re looking at some other things and if I do some other things, it might take me out of (the range of Blake’s offer).’ I was thinking of making a conditional offer and then if things didn’t happen, we could maybe go up to his number, but it was clear it wasn’t negotiable. At that point, I was almost sure he was going to San Jose.”
Wednesday: Lombardi and Brisson exchanged e-mails. Lombardi said, “We had an exchange of e-mails. I was telling them I still had to go through the process. (Brisson) said, `I have no interest in waiting.’ I was trying to explain to him what we’re trying to do.”
Thursday: Blake signs with San Jose.
Now, this is Lombardi’s time line. If Brisson has a differing opinion, I’m not aware of it, because he hasn’t returned my calls for four days. So there you go. I’m going home.