Blake Relinquishes Captaincy in Middle of Contract Dispute

From Staff Reports

The rift between the Kings and Rob Blake has gotten so bad that the star defenseman has voluntarily relinquished his captaincy.

Dave Taylor, the Kings’ general manager, said Blake approached club officials prior to the Kings’ first exhibition game a week ago in Phoenix and his request was honored.

“The Kings’ first priority is to keep Rob Blake in a King uniform for the foreseeable future,” said Taylor in a statement.


The statement was prompted by a report by Bob McKenzie of the Sports Network (TSN) of Canada on the television network’s Web site.

The Kings said they have made Blake, who will become a unrestricted free agent next summer, a lucrative offer. According to TSN’s McKenzie, the Kings have offered a three-year extension averaging about $7 1/2 million a year, but that Blake balked at that because the Kings expected him to play this season at his set salary of $5.25 million.

McKenzie reported that Blake gave up his captaincy after the Kings suggested they might trade him if he didn’t agree to a new contract.

“In light of his refusal and the fact that Rob will become an unrestricted free agent when his contract expires on July 1, 2001, we must assess the long-term impact that Rob’s decision will have on the club,” Taylor said in the statement.