Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said Sunday things got so bad for the inconsistent team this season that after a victory Feb. 7 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the players barricaded themselves behind locked doors and garbage cans and held a players-only meeting.
The cans were stacked in front of the dressing room and meant to be a signal to Kings coach Darryl Sutter to stay out. The Kings then snapped from a midseason funk to win eight consecutive games before faltering down the stretch and missing the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Lombardi said during an hour-long session with reporters at the team’s El Segundo practice facility that he didn’t have a problem with the meeting in general, but took mild offense to the extreme measures the players took in locking out Sutter.
“I guess it’s fair to say there was a little scuffle in Tampa,” Lombardi said when asked about a report in the New York Post that suggested the incident happened during a winless trip to play the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary, Flames, which knocked them out of the playoffs.
Lombardi corrected several elements of the Post’s story, including the date and location of the incident.
“I could look at it and say, ‘That’s when we won eight in a row, so let’s do this more often,’” Lombardi said when asked if he was troubled by the incident. “In terms of what actually happened, maybe they don’t have to go to that extreme, but theoretically I don’t have a problem with it.”
Neither Sutter nor the Kings players were available for immediate comment.