from Eric Macramalla at Forbes,
... However, let’s assume the Kings terminated the Richards contract after learning he was arrested in connection with the unlawful possession of OxyContin.
If that’s the case, expect the Kings to have a tough time upholding the termination of the Richards contract in the event the NHLPA files a grievance....
Why the uphill battle for the Kings? The reason is the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse And Behavioral Health Program Policy.
This Drug Policy sets out specific drug treatment protocols that must be followed in the case of an arrest or conviction related to drugs. Since it was collectively bargained between the Union and the NHL, adhering to the Drug Policy is not optional for teams; it’s mandatory. For example, a team cannot simply elect to ignore the collectively bargained terms for the sake of convenience. The whole idea behind the Drug Policy is to get players the help they need. The focus of the Drug Policy is ultimately rehabilitative and not punitive.
Any departure from collectively bargained terms may be met with a grievance.