Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 10/16/08 at 09:16 AM ET
One of the more perplexing stories out of Raleigh over the last 10 months or so has been the health status of Canes defenseman David Tanabe. The story has taken a few twists and turns and there’s always a promise of resolution just around the corner, but right now we know less than we did in January.
On December 18 of last year, Tanabe left the game against the Maple Leafs during the first period. Later, it was reported that he had suffered a concussion. He never returned to action, and health status updates were shady at best for the rest of that season.
in July, the Hurricanes attempted to buy out the remaining year of Tanabe’s contract, but that maneuver was immediately protested by Tanabe himself and also by the NHLPA. Injured players cannot be bought out. Fair enough, but the Hurricanes hadn’t heard a peep out of Tanabe. And they still haven’t.
Snuggles never showed up to the customary end-of-season exit interviews. He never responded to requests for meetings with Jim Rutherford. He didn’t turn up for the team picture. He showed up to the RBC Center to clean out his locker, but aside from that, there’s been no sign of Tanabe.
Last month, Tanabe failed to show up for training camp. Players under contract, injured or not, are required to show up for camp. At the very least, to be evaluated by team doctors. Instead, he went to Buffalo to visit some unnamed specialist who deemed him unfit to play. That evaluation, though, isn’t good enough. The Hurricanes need to see for themselves, so they can go through the necessary steps to place Tanabe on the long-term injured list.
Tanabe is scheduled to earn $900k in the final year of the two-year contract that was given him out of charity in the summer of 2007. If they can resolve this issue somehow, that money won’t go against the salary cap. An arbitrator was allegedly going to make a ruling on Tanabe’s contract status this month, but I haven’t heard a word about that since mid-September.
This whole thing doesn’t smell right to me. It never has. When the dust settles and we know the details, I hope I’m wrong about this, but I’ve had the suspicion that Snuggles is doing his best to be difficult. That’s stopping short of what I really want to say, but I’ll leave it at that.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.