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This ship will sail without Drew Doughty

July 22, 2011 |  1:02 pm

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Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, a restricted free agent who’s still unsigned, dropped out of a team cruise that was to leave Friday afternoon from Long Beach for Baja California, Mexico.

The annual voyage, which enables fans to mingle with players and team staff, originally featured Doughty, Wayne Simmonds and Trevor Lewis as scheduled participants. But Simmonds was traded to Philadelphia in the deal that brought Mike Richards to the Kings and a team spokesman said Doughty decided not to go.

Lewis was still scheduled to be on the trip to Ensenada aboard the Carnival Cruise Lines Fun Ship Paradise, along with radio analyst Daryl Evans and former King Ian Turnbull. And mascot Bailey too.

There’s no official word on why Doughty stayed on dry land but it’s likely he wanted to avoid facing constant questions about his contract status with no easy escape from those inquiries except a lifeboat.

Negotiations between the Kings and Doughty’s agents, Don Meehan and Mark Guy of Newport Sports, have been slow and there has been no indication of progress toward an agreement. Both sides could be waiting for a benchmark to be established at the scheduled salary arbitration hearing for standout Nashville defenseman Shea Weber. That’s due to be held Aug. 2 in Toronto.

Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi, asked earlier this week if he had talked to Doughty’s representatives, said via email, “Focused on negotiations for raising the debt ceiling now.”

OK then.

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-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty warms up prior to a game against Nashville on Jan. 6. Credit: Kirby Lee / U.S. Presswire

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