Cammalleri and Kings have their hearing

Times Staff Writer

Hours and hours locked in a room in Toronto with more than a dozen lawyers and one 34-goal scoring center, the best description of the process came from the player’s boss.

“I survived,” said Kings President and General Manager Dean Lombardi.

Survival was one thing.

But the effect of Mike Cammalleri’s salary arbitration hearing on the Kings’ payroll won’t be known until today, at the earliest. At the latest, the decision will come 48 hours after Thursday’s hearing.


“It’s just a grueling process,” Lombardi said.

“It wears you out. Nothing has changed in the process from pre-lockout. It’s not fun for either side.”

Attempts to reach Cammalleri’s representatives were unsuccessful.

The Kings’ leading scorer was looking for an increase from last season, when he made $1.7 million.

Cammalleri, who scored a career-high 34 goals and 80 points last season, told Canadian Press last week that there had not been much communication and that the Kings had not made him a contract offer.

“That’s not entirely accurate,” Lombardi said.

“Obviously an offer was made, just not the one they wanted.”

Often there are last-minute resolutions before these hearings, but it has been clear that would not happen in this contract dispute. The 25-year-old Cammalleri’s output last season was a substantial increase from 2005-06 when he had 26 goals and 55 points.

Still, despite the difficult day, Lombardi said he made a point of talking to Cammalleri after the lengthy arbitration hearing.

“You’re trying to say to Mike, ‘This isn’t about trying to stick it to Mike Cammalleri,’ ” Lombardi said.

“It’s about trying to manage the payroll.”