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Kings GM Dean Lombardi says he's sorry for slamming Oilers

January 12, 2012 |  1:51 pm

Either hell has frozen over or Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi was afraid for his safety during the team's upcoming trip to Edmonton, but he offered an apology Thursday for the incendiary comments he made after he acquired an injured Colin Fraser for Ryan Smyth in a trade with the Oilers.

Trying to grant Smyth's trade request, Lombardi initially agreed to take Gilbert Brule for Smyth but backed off because of concerns over Brule's fitness. He then agreed to take Fraser, who eventually needed foot surgery and didn't make his Kings debut until Nov. 10.

The Kings filed a grievance with the NHL contending that the Oilers had misrepresented the extent of Fraser's injury and Lombardi let his temper flare.

“The bottom line for me, I would have rather invested my money with Bernie Madoff than invest in Edmonton’s word,” Lombardi told The Times.

The grievance was settled before a hearing and the Oilers paid an unspecified amount of money toward Fraser’s medical costs. Oiler and NHL executives were unhappy with Lombardi’s outspokenness, and Lombardi told Edmonton Team 1260 radio host Mark Spector on Thursday that frustration over Smyth’s trade request led him to speak without thinking.

“I should have never said what I said publicly. It was the wrong thing to do,” Lombardi said, adding that the Kings and Oilers were able to resolve the dispute before Commissioner Gary Bettman had to step in.

“That was the wrong way to handle it.”

So now Lombardi won't have to worry about hostile crowds when the Kings visit Edmonton Sunday -- and he can put Edmonton General Manager Steve Tambellini's phone number back into his speed dial list before the Feb. 27 NHL trade deadline.

-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi. Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein / Getty Images