OT: Numminen deposits grievance at NHLPA for sabres suspension
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03-22-2008, 08:21 AM
nexus of the crisis
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Four Winds Bar
Originally Posted by
It's not about the cap, it's strictly about dollars. By putting him on IR, his salary wouldn't count against the cap, but by suspending him, they save the actual $$$'s. Which is
cheap of the Sabres. Wouldn't the insurance cover most of the salary?
Maybe I should refresh my memory before commenting, but... nah. Somebody will correct me if I'm wrong.
I think the Sabres argue that Numminen knew about his heart condition before signing, hence it's nothing related to hockey, hence they do indeed have the right to suspend him.
But flip side, I think the Sabres knew about it too (the problem has cropped up previously with Numminen after all, so obviously EVERYBODY knew there was potential for it to come up again). Yet they still signed him to a nice fat UFA contract all the same.
One has to think they talked about it before the contract was signed. And that there was an agreement made that the Sabres would give him that big salary only on the condition that if it did come up, he'd be ready to be suspended instead of just IR'ed.
And yes, the Sabres have historically cut corners on insurance. Insurance policies on professional hockey players are expensive. Probably moreso on players who have demonstrated histories of heart conditions and couldn't pass training camp physicals. Presumably there's no insurance on Numminen's contract. The cap doesn't matter to the Sabres. It's purely $$$. They don't have a lot of $$$. So to get away from paying Numminen, he was suspended.
Which is all well and good if both sides had that arrangement in mind back as the contract was negotiated and camp was approaching.
Where things have gone off the rail perhaps is more recently when Numminen felt he was ready to come back, and then more recently still when he was actually cleared and returned to practise with the team, but the Sabres never lifted the suspension and started his paycheques flowing again. The Sabres seem to want to wait until he's actually in the lineup before paying him. That can't fit even under whatever previous gentlemen's agreement they might have had.
Now, to me, it might have been classless to suspend a guy who has given so much to the organization over the years in the first place. But let's face it, Numminen at his age wasn't going to get $2.6M from anybody else in the league, so I have to try to believe both sides did indeed have an agreement beforehand. Subsequently, however, the Sabres have just gone too far. If they don't have insurance on guys like Connolly or their injured d-men or whoever, well, they're already spilling money on injured assets and paying their callups moreso than maybe they expected. Maybe there is a cash crunch there. But for the pro-rated $500k or less that Numminen might have left on his contract, that's a pretty cold-hearted extra step to take by them.
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