There’s no telling if the league’s third-party investigator will find any wrongdoing or circumvention when it comes to the contracts of Bruins center Marc Savard, or fellow retirement-deal-signers Marian Hossa, Chris Pronger and Roberto Luongo.
All we know is that the league is keeping its options open as far as punishment should there be a need for discipline.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told NHL.com today that there are several tools, as alternatives to de-registration, that the league has at its disposal to punish the Bruins, Blackhawks, Flyers or Canucks should there be proof of circumvention. Lowering a team’s payroll, fining a team or forfeiture of draft picks could also come into play.
“We’re at a different stage now that the contracts have been registered so there is a different procedure that we would have to employ if we ever wanted to do anything with these contracts, and I don’t want to create the perception or expectation that we are,” Daly said when asked about how the deals under investigation compared to the canceled deal Ilya Kovalchuk signed with New Jersey. “It’s just that these contracts continue to be under investigation.”
So those worrying (or hoping) that Marc Savard would be rendered an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this investigations can rest a little easier. It sounds like the league wouldn’t want to unleash the lunacy that would be four of the top stars in the world becoming free agents just before or during the season. Of course, a salary-cap penalty or the loss of draft picks could be equally damning for the Bruins.
Boy, what would the enthusiasm that comes with the start of a new season be without the NHL tamping down the excitement with a ridiculous investigation?