by PuckStopsHere on 12/10/09 at 01:36 PM ET
According to Murphy’s Law it was bound to happen someday. The Montreal Canadiens used an ineligible player Tuesday night versus the Ottawa Senators. Ryan White was in the line-up for the Habs, but they had failed to notify the league by the 5 PM league deadline that White had been recalled from the AHL. When this was noticed, White was pulled from the game and the Habs completed it one forward short. This is being treated as a big deal. Bob McKenzie reports that the Habs could face a fine in the six figure range. He also says that had it not been noticed that White was ineligible and he was pulled from the game, Montreal may have had to forfeit their 4-1 victory.
Many questions are raised by the incident. Why was this news story not widely reported until more than 36 hours after the game (Bob McKenzie’s story is dated at almost 10 AM ET the Thursday after the game - and I haven’t seen anything reported earlier)? Did the NHL attempt to suppress the story? This is an example of how the CBA has an unwieldy amount of regulation. What is the harm really? Montreal called up a player that they have called up before and failed to tell big brother about it. Why does big brother even care? Because they keep a complex salary calculation going all season and this kind of minutia is needed to be kept correct to keep the salary calculation correct.
In the end does it matter if Montreal plays Ryan White or not? Even if White plays a brilliant game and is first star, I don’t see why it matters. Montreal played a hockey player that is their property. Not a scandal. It is only a problem for bookkeeping reasons and this bookkeeping does nothing to improve the quality of the hockey games - in fact it can reduce the quality of said games as sometimes players are not played for salary cap reasons.
I can help but wonder what would have happened if it was a financially struggling team that made the mistake. Would the NHL saddle them with a six figure fine they might not be able to pay? Could you imagine Phoenix or Florida getting treated the way Montreal is getting treated? For Montreal, the fine can be large because they can afford it and it sends a message of the importance to do your bookkeeping properly. It seems bookkeeping is more important than hockey with some who run the NHL.
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