Will Blake Stay In L.A.?

Archived from 2000-01 season.

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The star defenseman Rob Blake resigned as captain of the Los Angeles Kings after the team gave him an ultimatum to sign a extension contract or be prepared to be traded.

"There really is no counter when the team says, 'take it or leave it,'" Blake said. "It's a business, and when it is put that way, if you don't agree, you're gone. I stepped down as captain because the team needs to keep moving forward."

Blake is in the final year of his contract which will pay him $5.25 million this season. He reportedly had been offered a three-year, $22.5 million extension. He rejected the deal and was surprised when the Kings ended negotiations.

"You hope this is all just part of the negotiation," said Luc Robitaille, expected to be named Blake's replacement at captain. "I think it is. You don't replace a guy like Rob. There has to be a way to figure this out."

Blake will be an unrestricted free agent after this season and might be traded by the team before that.

Coach Andy Murray he will not name a new captain until just before the season opens.

"I said at that time, 'Rob, think about it and we just won't have anybody as captain in training camp,'" Murray said. "We have had a terrific camp with great competition, and I think that will help us get through this. No one wants Rob to leave."

Will the Blake situation be a distraction to the team remains to be seen.

"It is a business, but sometimes it is much more than that," said Blake's defensemate Mattias Norstrom, who missed all of training camp last season in a contract dispute. "They said it's business, but when you don't hear from them for a week or a they pull an offer off the table, it's hard not to think it's personal."

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