Applying the NBA’s “amnesty” clause to the NHL

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Not sure if you heard, but the NBA lockout is all but officially over. The league and the players tentatively agreed to a season-saving CBA over the weekend.

With the NHL’s labor agreement set to expire on Sep. 15, 2012, it’s worth noting one of the clauses in the new NBA CBA that’s getting some attention. Could the NHL do something similar?

From the New York Times:

The league calls it the “amnesty” clause. General managers call it a get-out-of-jail-free card. It will be available starting Dec. 9, when the N.B.A. reopens for business.

Under the amnesty provision, each team can waive one player and remove him from the salary cap — creating room to sign another player and potentially saving millions in luxury-tax penalties.

The money does not disappear. The player must still be paid. But the provision could give a few teams some relief and put an extra jolt in the free-agent market.

Amnesty players will go through waivers, like any other player. However, teams that make claims will also enter bids. The highest bidder will get the player and pay that amount (with the balance paid by the team that cut him).

So let’s say the NHL had an amnesty clause. Now suppose the Canucks decided Cory Schneider was the goalie of the future in Vancouver. The Canucks could waive Roberto Luongo and his $5.3-million annual cap hit would be off the books forever.

Now enter the Columbus Blue Jackets, who like Luongo but not for what he’s making. The Jackets could bid 60 cents on the dollar and, assuming nobody outbid them, they’d get Luongo, with the Canucks responsible for the salary shortfall (but not cap hit.)

Not saying that would be a good move for the Canucks – just illustrating the possibility. There are plenty of bad contracts out there. Imagine if your team was allowed to ditch its worst one.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.

Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

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TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

“Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.