Friday, September 14, 2012
The rules of a lockout
By Pierre LeBrun
Ah, the life of a locked-out NHL player.
Starting at 11:59 p.m. ET Saturday, life changes in a hurry for the 700-plus NHLers locked out by their NHL owners.
From the obvious to the not-so-obvious, let’s take a look at what that entails:
- Players are barred from using any NHL team’s private facilities. So for most players that means having to get together and buy ice time elsewhere to continue their workouts.
- Players will not be paid their 2012-13 salaries during the lockout. The first of 14 paychecks was expected in mid-October. On the flip side, players will get escrow checks from the NHL in mid- to late October, which counts for 8 percent of their 2011-12 salaries (they paid 8.5 escrow last season, but are getting 8 percent of it back). That’s a nice chunk of change for the players to get at the start of a lockout.
- There is a small group of players, however, who will continue to receive their full NHL salaries: the injured ones. Any player injured in a hockey-related fashion is entitled to his full salary until he fully recovers and is deemed fit to play by team doctors. So, for example, guys like Chris Pronger or Mattias Ohlund will continue to get paid. The caveat here is a requirement for these players to seek out team doctors and follow their counsel.
- Players are free to play in other leagues once they’re locked out. The key for those players is to get insurance for their NHL contracts in case of injury while playing overseas.
- All signing bonuses will be fully paid regardless of the lockout. That’s why so many contracts over the past few months included signing bonuses. It’s guaranteed money in the bank regardless of a lockout.
- Players who are 19 and under who are junior-eligible can still be sent back to their junior clubs.
- Players cannot be traded during the lockout.
- Clubs cannot make players appear at promotional events nor ask players to show up for training or conditioning camps.
- If a player is injured while playing in another league during the lockout, an NHL club can suspend him without pay until he is fit to play.
- Players who were bought out in a previous year and still have buyout payments due to them will continue to receive them during the lockout.