September 22, 2009
Writing about Chris Pronger(notes) in the Philadelphia Flyers preview and Marian Hossa(notes) meeting Vince Vaughn in the Chicago Blackhawks' locker room got us wondering: What the heck's going on with the NHL-initiated investigation of the long-term contracts they signed during the summer?
In case you hadn't heard, Ken Campbell of The Hockey News recently added a name to the investigation: Roberto Luongo(notes) of the Vancouver Canucks, whose front-loaded 12-year, $64 million deal is being scrutinized along with those of Pronger and Hossa to see if they circumvent the collective bargaining agreement.
With the season approaching, and either fines or loss of draft picks at stake, we asked NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly today about the status of the investigations.
His reply, via email: "The investigations remain ongoing at this point. There is really no timetable for completion."
So there you go. We've said before that there's nothing inherently evil about these contracts, or long-term deal in general. But it's a loophole most expect will be sewn up in the next CBA negotiation, and Tom Benjamin feels that any investigation is pointless until it is:
The length and structure of the Luongo contract is clearly a way to get around the salary cap. I don't like the fact that the loophole exists - a Gary Bettman design flaw - but it doesn't matter whether I like it or not. The Luongo contract may circumvent the salary cap, but it does not circumvent the collective bargaining agreement.