The end for Cloutier?
The saga of Dan Cloutier, firmly entrenched in the minors in Manchester, N.H., took another turn when Kings President and General Manager Dean Lombardi and assistant GM Ron Hextall met with Cloutier and a doctor over the weekend.
This resulted in a bit of a last-ditch move for the struggling goalie, who hasn't been right since hip surgery.
"They say he's been at about 80%, in and out of the lineup, and we're going to shut him down for at least six weeks," Lombardi said Wednesday in Chicago.
He's played 12 games in the AHL this season with Manchester, allowed 35 goals in 600 minutes, and has a 3.50 goals against average, a 3-8 record and a .875 save percentage. Cloutier's in the second year of a three-year, $9.3-million deal he signed prior to last season, and will earn all of that money regardless of if he plays in the minors or not.
Amid all of the professional and health woes, Cloutier also became a father for the first time last week, and he'll now have some extended time to spend at home with the little one.
Hip problems, especially ones which require several surgeries, are bad, bad news for goaltenders. Dominik Hasek, Jocelyn Thibault and Antero Niittymaki have all battled hip hurts in recent years and returned, but I don't think it's too far out of line to suggest we've seen the last of Dan Cloutier in the NHL.