Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 09/20/08 at 01:50 PM ET
All summer long, there has been a wild and crazy soap opera with the Hurricanes and injured defenseman David Tanabe. First, the Canes tried to buy out his contract. Tanabe, and the NHLPA objected on the grounds of injury. The buyout was invalidated and for now, Tanabe must be listed as a roster player. As a “roster player”, Tanabe is expected to show up for camp. At the vey least, so he can be evaluated by team doctors. According to Chip Alexander, Tanabe was a no-show for the physicals yesterday and for the official opening of camp today.
I’ve followed this story on the other blog with updates
here when Tanabe was placed on waivers;
here when Tanabe cleared waivers and the Canes attempted the buyout;
here when Tanabe and the NHLPA challenged the buyout;
and here when I wondered for about the millionth time just what the heck was going on.
Jim Rutherford has made it perfectly clear all along that if the NHL won’t allow the buyout, the player must show up for camp. This is pretty standard. If the player shows up and meets with team doctors, they can deem him unfit and apply for a long-term injury exemption against the salary cap. However, Snuggles continues to refuse to play ball.
In case you missed it, Tanabe was hurt in December and never played after that. We never knew any details about the severity of his injury or which doctors he was seeing or any of that. When the season closed, Avi refused to go to the traditional end-of-season exit interview with coach Laviolette. He refused to meet with Jim Rutherford or Ron Francis. He showed up to the rink to empty his locker, but wouldn’t do any of the other stuff.
He has purportedly been seeing a doctor in Buffalo about the concussion, but he won’t let the team anywhere near him. I have said all along, and I will continue to say that I just don’t get this. Something seems terribly wrong with the whole situation. Tanabe’s refusal to cooperate has made the whole thing look more and more suspicious.
Rutherford, who grew tired of this ordeal about six weeks ago, has arranged an October meeting with an arbitrator to settle the situation. He told the News and Observer
Either rule that he’s a roster player and he’s injured, and he reports for rehab and hopefully we can get him healthy and play again, or rule he’s a player who can be bought out. That’s all we ask.
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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.