The 48-hour interview period was a new wrinkle in this year’s free-agency frenzy. And perhaps not surprisingly, it arrived with a good deal of confusion.
In fact, partway through last week’s two-day tire-kicking window, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was forced to send out a memo to all 30 clubs reminding them that no offers could be made to free agents before July 5.
But not all general managers knew that. Or, if they did, it’s possible some of them just didn’t care.
“Truthfully, it felt a lot like July 1 of the past,” one GM told ESPN’s Craig Custance. “You felt like you needed to get in the game right away. The one positive is you didn’t have that ax hanging over your head, like if you didn’t get to that number right away, the player was signing elsewhere.”
Of course, for teams that played by the rules, it wasn’t particularly fair. And at least one club executive was left wondering why there weren’t any “repercussions.”
As a result, according to Custance, the NHL will be setting new guidelines for next year’s interview period, which will run five days from June 25-30.
Not that crystal-clear rules will stop everyone from bending, if not outright breaking, them. Without definitive proof, like the NHL found in the case of Scott Stevens, it’s extremely difficult to prove tampering.
Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.
The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.
According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:
The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:
Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?
While lineups are obviously subject to change, CSNPhilly.com notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.
Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.
That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”
The CSNPhilly.com quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.
Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.
It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.