No Insurance Policy for NHL Olympians?


Aug 5, 2009

No Insurance Policy for NHL Olympians?The NHL is laying down the law when it comes to the Olympics.

NHL player agent Allan Walsh tweeted this report on Tuesday night as we suffered through that agonizing Red Sox loss to the Rays:

The NHL has sent out a memo that it will not honor NHL contract for a player injured at a summer Olympic training camp.

Then followed with this shortly thereafter:

As follow up, found out NHL teams directed to suspend and not pay any player injured in Summer Olympic Orientation camp.

Yikes! Bruins players Tim Thomas (USA) and Milan Lucic (Canada) better hope they stay healthy. If one of them was to get injured, and a team isn’t honoring that player’s contract, does it come off the cap? Could that in effect free up cap space for the strapped Bruins? Of course, that would be a horrible way for the Bruins to gain some money against the cap, but just wondering.

Just my two cents, but this is a low blow by the NHL and won’t help when the players and owners meet in two years to discuss a new CBA. The NHL has made it clear that it doesn’t want to have its players play in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.

"It is a strain on the players, on the schedule and on our fans here,” commissioner Gary Bettman said in June. “And that the benefits tend to be greater when the Olympics are played in North America, as opposed to a distant time zone.”

Now they take this stance against insuring contracts for Olympic-related hockey and threaten to suspend players if they get hurt? Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Bettman and Co. strongly push for NHL involvement, despite opposition stating that the Olympics should be reserved for amateur athletes so that we may witness miracles? Yes, they did, but now when money may be lost, they decide to bail and then threaten to hold back pay if a player gets hurt practicing for an event they originally wanted their players in. Not exactly in the spirit of the promised partnership.

Had a chance to speak to NHLPA Paul Kelly recently and he wasn’t exactly thrilled about the prospect of no NHL involvement after the upcoming Winter Games in Vancouver.

“We strongly disagree with this and think that our players should continue to participate in the Olympics,” Kelly said. “This a great way for us to promote the league and the players and continue to build the game. There are definitely ways to work around some of the obstacles the league has mentioned, and we’re willing to find solutions.”

Gainey still working the phones
There’s no new news on the Phil Kessel front, but here’s the latest from Habs land:

Last week, we mentioned some trade rumors involving the Canadiens and Sharks, and on Sunday, good friend Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun reported the same but with a twist. According to Garrioch, the Habs could facilitate the long-awaited trade of Dany Heatley by being the third team in a deal that would see the Sharks acquire the disgruntled winger, who requested a trade from the Senators last month. Don Brennan also reported that a league source said a deal could be done by Thursday.

But our Habs sources denied the rumor, and as one of the game’s best scribes Pat Hickey pointed out, this deal doesn’t make sense salary cap-wise. This is not to discredit Garrioch, who is very well connected, or Brennan, but some things would need to happen cap-wise to make it happen.

I also agree with Hickey that this doesn’t necessarily mean Montreal GM Bob Gainey is done dealing.

Perhaps it's because Gainey himself left the door open on July 1 when he announced the first wave of acquisitions and said he had until October to find the elusive big center.

This latest rumor most likely doesn’t occur, but something tells us the Habs aren’t done. Maybe they get that big center, or maybe they simply add more complementary size. Former Boston University star and Holliston, Mass., native Mike Grier could help, and there are rumblings he may indeed don les bleu, blanc et rouge this season.

Fists of fury
Milan Lucic
has always been a natural fighter. Here’s a video clip found by Bruinsfreak18 on the Bruins HFBoards. Muhammad Alucic?

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