The Right Decision, The Wrong Way?

I am very sad about the turn of events that have occurred for Teppo Numminen since yesterday. During his pre-season physical it was discovered that he needs heart surgery, and then, to top off a surely delightful day, he was suspended by the Sabres for “failing to report to camp in good physical condition.” I am sure that the decision to suspend Teppo was the best option for the Sabres from a business standpoint, but I still hate it. I find it impossible to believe that there couldn’t have been a more dignified and respectful response to Teppo’s situation. At the very least, the announcement of his suspension should have been handled with a lot more class. Truthfully, I am fully confused about the whole situation. There are all sorts of contractual issues going on here, and I certainly can’t claim to understand the full scope of the issue. Hopefully, it’s not as bad as it seems, and Teppo will be healthy and back on the ice soon.

On a personal note, I’m really depressed that when I read this article in The Buffalo News, my immediate response was to wonder how many layers of bullshit I had to remove before I got to the truth of the matter. I’m not a journalist and I have never studied journalism. I go back and forth on the issue of whether I should pay any attention to sports journalism. In the great scheme of things, sports are not important, not like, oh say, an unwinnable war or anything; but still, I think sports play a huge role in how the Buffalo community relates to itself. In Buffalo, our sports teams are probably the single most unifying (or divisive) issue we have. The Buffalo News just seems so heavy handed and intent on attacking the Sabres organization that I simply don’t trust them to provide accurate information. For all I know, The Buffalo News might be right about this one, but due to their hatchet job covering the captain’s departure, they no longer have any credibility with me.

So, what we have is a bad newspaper intent on skewering an organization with really bad P.R. skills, and the result is a gigantic pile of crap. In order to cover my bases and spread the frustration around, I will just say:

Eff you, Buffalo News. Eff you, Sabres management. I’m sick of all you guys. Pull your shit together.


But most importantly, get well, Teppo!

38 Responses to “The Right Decision, The Wrong Way?”

  1. 1 Sam September 14, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    Man, this is the kind of callous disregard for human frailty that one generally only expects to see in NFL managements. Or the Philadelphia Flyers. I knew about Numminen’s heart complications, but the news that the Sabres suspended him to save a buck is just horrifying. These are the times that I’m glad to be a fan of a team that puts a premium on character, even if it does mean that we let a lot of quality free agents slip away without ever attempting to lure them north…

    (First comment. Both by me on this blog and by anyone on this post. Just saying.)

  2. 2 Katebits September 14, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    Hi, Sammy McSammerson!

    I don’t know if you read the Buffalo News article, but a major part of this story that I didn’t address in my post was the fact that Teppo’s contract was uninsured due to this preexisting heart condition. Meaning, without this suspension, the Sabres would be on the hook for $2.6 million on a guy that might never play again. I am not sure that this wasn’t the right choice from a business standpoint, I just can’t believe how hideously the Sabres dealt with this from a PR standpoint. It worries me, especially considering that the Sabres have a reputation around the league for not taking care of their players. I feel sort of foolish for responding so emotionally to what is clearly an almost procedural decision, but I just can’t seem to make peace with this one.

    I am also beginning to suspect that the Sabres and Teppo are not in agreement about his future on the team. Teppo should probably just retire. I wish he would retire! I don’t want a dude who just had open heart surgery on the ice. Too scary!

  3. 3 Gambler September 14, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    I just wish I didn’t have to keep reading that he’s being suspended because of a “failure to report to camp in good physical condition.” I realize it’s technical language, but it makes it sound like the Sabres think Teppo did this on purpose.

    The situation definitely could have been handled more graciously, that’s true, but reading this Darcy quote made me feel a little better: “It’s the collective bargaining agreement and in no way is it personal to Teppo. I had the conversation with Teppo. He understands it’s business. It has a lot of implications on the salary side, on the cap side. He’s still part of the team. We’re going to assist and help in any way we can. He’s down there this morning, the guys saw him. In no way is the organization going to do anything other than support him in this situation.” Now, obviously, the really nice way to support him is to continue paying him, but I just don’t think that was an option. It’s a an all around sucky situation, for sure.

    I just want my Teppo back! Teppo, go see Dr Cappuccino! He’ll have you back on the ice, like, tomorrow!

  4. 4 Katebits September 14, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    That is SUCH a good point, Gambler! Teppo should go see Dr. Cappuccino! Dr. Cappuccino would fix him up good!

    You know, I really wish that Darcy quote made me feel better, but honestly, it sounds really cold to me.

    Here is what Darcy should have said:

    “Teppo Numminen is beloved member of our team and our organization. Obviously it is our most sincere hope that his surgery and his recovery go smoothly and he is back with the team soon. Our decision to suspend Teppo was very difficult, but this is the only way we could proceed because of [insert mysterious contractual reason why they had to suspend him on the very day of his diagnosis.] This is in no way a reflection of our feelings for Teppo. Teppo’s contributions both on the ice and in the lockerroom have been invaluable and he will be sorely missed during his time away. Our hearts and prayers go out to Teppo and his family during this difficult time. I am confident that Teppo will tackle this hurdle with all of the calm and determination that he has displayed on the ice as a Buffalo Sabre.”

    I realize I might sound like a lunatic harping on semantics and feelings, but I just keep thinking about how I’ve read over and over that NHL players don’t want to work for the Sabres, and I can’t help but think that maybe it’s partially because of shit like this. The Sabres should hire the best PR guy/girl money can buy, and pull it together, once and for all. The fact of the matter is, they are dealing with a rabid and hyper-sensitive fanbase. Every move they make is endlessly analyzed and discussed. The Sabres need to do a better job of relaying information to the community in a more flattering manner. This entire summer has been a public relations fiasco.

  5. 5 Sam September 14, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    $2.6m or no $2.6m, good organizations just don’t do this to their players. If you choose not to insure a contract, it’s always been a buyer beware situation for the club that was too cheap to buy the insurance. Contracts in the NHL are guaranteed, and I’d be stunned if the players’ association doesn’t file a major grievance. Come to think of it, why isn’t there a specific league rule prohibiting this kind of dishonest bullshit?

    It is true, by the way, that the Sabres have a horrible reputation around the league as a place to play, and it’s not about the city of Buffalo or your fans (who, clearly, are top notch.) It’s a shame, because being a good organization really isn’t nearly as hard as teams like Buffalo, Philly, and Chicago make it seem…

  6. 6 Meg September 15, 2007 at 12:31 am

    You know, I really wish that Darcy quote made me feel better, but honestly, it sounds really cold to me.

    I dunno, Kate, I think that’s pretty warm by Darcy’s standards. What you suggest is much nicer and I’d like it better, but if Darcy actually said that–or anything equally emotional–I think I would have to be resuscitated. You won’t hear Lindy saying anything like that either. It’s just not the way they are. Now I wish he’d made the statement before announcing the suspension. And I’m not happy about the whole situation. But I don’t think that we can expect Darcy to be in any way effusive. He’s just too reserved.

  7. 7 Katebits September 15, 2007 at 12:54 am

    But that’s kind of my point, Meg. I can just see him sitting across from Teppo all, “
    You.are.our.friend.You.are.suspended.” (I’m exaggerating of COURSE. I just like that funny robot typing voice.)

    You are of course right, Meg. Darcy is Darcy, and he’s done a good job with the team. I just wish he was nicer. Just this once.

  8. 8 Meg September 15, 2007 at 1:30 am

    If it makes you feel any better, Kate, I think he is supposed to be fairly nice–and, believe it or not, funny–outside the public eye. Just very private and reserved. And not fond of publicity or attention. Then again, I like Darcy, and choose to blame the Sabres’ problems on Quinn whenever and wherever possible. So this suspension? Totally Quinn’s fault. ;)

  9. 9 ccomfort September 15, 2007 at 7:25 am

    nicely said kate- i have to mostly agree with you again. Although i’m very biased where Teppo is concerned- I do want to see him back on the ice and stay here in Buffalo, not going anywhere else in the league or back to Finland.

  10. 10 Katebits September 15, 2007 at 8:28 am

    Courtney, I want Teppo back too, but the guy is having open heart surgery. That is pretty intense. It’s hard to imagine him playing hockey again….but then again, he is a warrior.

    Meg, that does make me feel a little better to hear that in private Darcy is nice and funny. Quinn is clearly a douchebag, so maybe I should just go ahead and blame him for this suspension! Quinn, YOU SUCK.

  11. 11 Heather B. September 15, 2007 at 10:35 am

    I’ve heard the same thing about Darcy. I think public speaking is just not his deal. He’s a GM – it’s not really part of his job and he probably hates that he works in the one city in the NHL that demands a press conference after every little thing he does. Despite what some will say, he’s a great GM. Unfortunately, part of being a great GM is being able to look at a situation without emotion or sentiment so that’s the side of him we see. Sucks for Darcy.

    And listen… I love Teppo. I do. But he signed an uninsured contract. I have a hard time believing that he and Darcy didn’t discuss what that and his heart history meant for him and the team. The truth is, if there wasn’t exactly this kind of out for a team to take advantage of in this situation, Teppo – with his history – probably wouldn’t have been signed by anyone.

    Every move they make is endlessly analyzed and discussed. The Sabres need to do a better job of relaying information to the community in a more flattering manner. This entire summer has been a public relations fiasco.

    They could definitely use some PR help. But with the fanbase and media as paranoid and obnoxious as they are, I’d have to question how much good that’s going to do. That first release we were talking about over at IPB from TBN didn’t come from the Sabres. TBN got the information from the NHLPA and the decided, as usual, to move forward without getting any input or feedback from the team. And then every fan in Buffalo blew a gasket before they even really understood what was going on. And everything else I’ve read from TBN has had a sheen of glee about management screwing up again over it. Yeah, maybe if the team had announced it first, it would’ve been better. But maybe it wouldn’t have. Part of me wouldn’t blame management a bit if they’ve decided there’s just no way they’re going to make Buffalo happy at this point – no matter how they put the info out there TBN is going to pick out the negative and (many) fans are going to jump on their bandwagon.

    But as for their reputation with players… yeah, I guess that could use work.

  12. 12 Heather B. September 15, 2007 at 11:02 am

    (I emailed you a little more about this. I was getting a little long-winded.)

  13. 13 markberm September 15, 2007 at 11:40 am

    Kate,I totally understand what you’re saying. But I’m not pissed at the team. I wonder if I’ve just become so used to the business side of sports that stuff like this doesn’t bother me anymore. As per my usual response to TBN, my first thought was that they were overreacting and didn’t have all the facts. I still feel that way a day later. Don’t get me wrong, I love Teppo but the guy has a heart condition – he may never play hockey again! To point out how hypocritical the fans can be, if Teppo ended up retiring and Sabres had to pay out his 2.6 million, people would have be screaming for Darcy’s head for being so stupid and not looking at his options. Darcy knows the CBA better than us I’m sure of that.

    I just wish Teppo the best but I do think he needs to consider retirement. I can’t say I know the specifics of his condition, but you don’t mess around with your heart.

    Man, I just wish the season would start. I am so sick of this crap!

    On a positive note, I took in part of the scrimmage yesterday and it was awesome seeing the boys again. I shall post about it on my blog shortly.

  14. 14 Katebits September 15, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    I am coming around on this whole thing, but I stand firmly by my insistence that the Sabres need help in the PR department. The fact that they filed for suspension without a corresponding press release was boneheaded and easily avoidable. I perfectly understand why the Sabres might find dealing with the insanity of Buffalo frustrating, and I agree, they really can’t win with TBN, but every move this summer was followed by a sort of cringe worthy press conference. (All that business about “As long as we live…”, with the OIlers. And the press conference after free agency.) The Sabres are particularly bad at this stuff. I think with just a little bit of effort, a lot of this “bad press” could go away. I am certainly not defending the insane attitude of fans, or The Buffalo News, but the fact is, Buffalo is what it is and it would be nice to see the Sabres get a little more saavy in their dealings with the public. While we in Buffalo may have a more well rounded view of what is happening, the fact is, on the national level, what is written in the Buffalo News is reprinted over and over again as the full story. Just take a look at Mirtle’s coverage of this mess if you want to see what I mean. Mirtle has excerpts from TBN in the body of his post, as he should, because as of right now, TBN is the only major media source for Sabres information. I’m not saying that the TBN is right AT ALL, I’m just saying that this negative stuff is really piling up in terms of how the organization is viewed on the national stage.

    On the other hand, maybe it doesn’t matter how we are viewed on a national level. Darcy has done an amazing job of building an organization that is good from the bottom up. He has also made it clear that he doesn’t believe in shopping in the free-agency market, so maybe, in the end, none of this “perception” stuff matters. I think we will learn a lot more about how accurate the “perception” is as some of the younger guys (who were drafted by the club), approach free agency. The Sabres will not be able to afford to keep the core together without a little cooperation from the key players.

    One thing I totally agree with is that Darcy has done a great job building the team, and I probably shouldn’t blame him for this mess. Quinn is way worse.

  15. 15 Katebits September 15, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Oh, one other thing. I totally don’t think that Sabres should be trying to cater to the fan reaction, as Buffalonians are clearly nuts. I don’t care about what they are saying on AM550, or The Buffalo News Sabres blog. Buffalonians can not be appeased, but I think it’s to the benefit of the organization in the long run to at least try to play the PR game with a bit more sophistication.

  16. 16 Meg September 15, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    I am coming around on this whole thing, but I stand firmly by my insistence that the Sabres need help in the PR department.

    Kate, I totally agree with this. I feel like there are a lot of little things that they could do (including just being quicker to address certain things) that could make a differenc. Or could have made a difference before the Buffalo News started their obsessive little campaign. In some ways the Sabres organization has definitely made it’s own bed.

  17. 17 Sam September 15, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    You know, not to beat the “my team is better at fan/player relations than your team” angle to death, but it’s worth noting that the way that the Minnesota Wild have defused some of the insane fan vitriol that inevitably crops up around pro sports teams is to embrace the fans and give them every opportunity to question the decisions of the management, even on the official team web site, where they’ve just launched a “blog” (in quotes because it’s really more of a list of official releases with a comment feature.)

    Every year, hundreds of fans camp out in line at the Xcel Energy Center for single game tickets for days before they go on sale, and the Wild make sure they have plenty of broadcasters, front office types, and even the GM on hand to periodically hand out free coffee and donuts to those willing to brave the elements. (Just one example among many of the team going the extra mile.) In fact, the team is so deferential to the fan base that some of the local sports columnists actually get bitter about the loyalty the fans show in return, and occasionally make fun of us for selling out all the games when the team isn’t playing well. (Of course, these same columnists chastise Twins fans endlessly for not selling out a 50,000-seat joke of a stadium 81 times a season, so screw them.)

    On the player relations front, the front office steadfastly refuses to discuss player contract details, or to negotiate through the media, even when it hurts their bargaining position. They also make a point of not letting internal disputes make it past the locker room, and only the coach is ever heard discussing player performance in the media. The press are accomodated, but not allowed to run roughshod over players’ privacy. As a result, Minnesota is one of the only small markets in the US where free agents very much want to play. It hasn’t led to a Cup yet, but I’ll tell you this: it’s awfully refreshing to root for a franchise that never makes you embarrassed to be a fan.

  18. 18 Katebits September 15, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Actually, Sam, the Buffalo Sabres were ranked number one in an ESPN poll last year for fan satisfaction in all four major sports. A large part of the Sabres public relations problem is definitely a byproduct of the truly insane aspects of Buffalo’s fanbase. This is a community that loves the HELL out of this team, and in turn complains BITTERLY at every opportunity. I assure you, no amount of free coffee and donuts will satisfy this town. Not without a Stanley Cup. As you know, I have lived in both Minneapolis and Buffalo, and just trust me when I tell you, you really can’t compare these two markets when it comes to issues of “satisfaction”. It seems to be in the make-up of the Buffalonian to be both unsatisfied and extremely demanding. The way the community has rallied around the Sabres in the past few seasons is actually a great testimony to the Sabres management.

    Everything you wrote about the Wild doing, I actually feel the Sabres do too. The difference seems to be that the Sabres insistently choose to save a buck whenever possible when it comes to contracts, and they seem to have a bad track record with “people” skills. Over the years, this has rubbed a lot of players the wrong way when it comes time to negotiate. Until this summer (the effects of the Vanek contract have yet to be seen) Regier seemed to have had a pretty shrewd ability to sum up a player’s worth and then refuse to go a dime higher. I do know that the Sabres were in bankruptcy just a few years ago, so I have to assume that there is every reason to be extra cautious with the finances of the team.

    As for Teppo, I am still on the side of The-Suspension-Was-Bad, but I have come to decide that it was within the team’s legal rights. I just happen to believe that whatever they are saving in Teppo’s salary they have lost in moral and negative national perception, but that’s just my opinion. Also don’t forget, the one thing this team has repeatedly done in the last few years is land on their feet.

    Tom Benjamin has a very interesting little post about the possilbe implications of the situation.

  19. 19 Katebits September 15, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    And Sammy, before you sprain a muscle patting yourself on the back for cheering for such a cuddly organization, may I remind you that your other team is the FLYERS.

    See? Look at what a Buffalonian I have become! I can talk shit about the Sabres, BUT YOU CAN’T!!



  20. 20 Heather B. September 15, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Sam, Kate kind of addressed this but the Sabres are generally very good with fan relations, particularly the last couple of years. We sell out every game too. We needed to have a cap on season ticket sales so there were individual tickets left. The team and players are involved in numerous community events and charities. Darcy does not discuss contract issues and he does not negotiate through the media. He doesn’t discuss players’ performance and if asked will say over and over again, “That’s Lindy’s territory.” If there are any problems between players on the current team, I don’t know about it. If anything he probably gets hit for being TOO tight-lipped with the media and probably would’ve been better off in this situation talking a little more. The team is one of the most talented in the league and even with a recent price hike is still one of the most affordable tickets in the league. They’re very aware of the fact that their fanbase is largely blue collar and middle income. I can understand people feeling like this wasn’t the right thing to do or handled in the correct way but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The franchise is doing a lot of things right, especially when it comes to making fans happy.

    Kate, that was an interesting link and on a sidenote, I haven’t seen anyone point out the obvious. When the Fischer, Koivu, Lemieux etc. situations happened, the league didn’t have a salary cap. Those teams could continue to pay those guys and go out and pay a replacement player if needed without worrying about how much they were spending. Now there’s a cap and 2.6 million is a lot to lose out of the cap on a guy who isn’t playing if it comes to that. Again, it’s an excruciating choice to make but if Teppo doesn’t play and the team is still paying him and can’t afford another good defensman, a lot of local fans and media are going to go ape shit because the Sabres didn’t dump his salary when they could.

  21. 21 Katebits September 15, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    But Heather, I don’t think players on long term injured reserve count against the salary cap. Now, if Teppo is actually intent on returning, his salary would count against the cap once he was cleared to play, but I believe this is true of the suspension as well. If Teppo is cleared to play again, his salary is right back on the books, no matter what. I have looked at this from every angle, and sadly, the only reason for the suspension (as far as I understand) is that the Sabres won’t have to pay Teppo during his time off. I’m not sure there are any real cap ramifications.

  22. 22 Meg September 15, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Sam, what you’re talking about there is mostly how the Minnesota Wild treat their fans, which is an entirely different issue. Sabres management treats the fans just fine as far as I can tell. In fact, since Golisano replaced our former criminal owners, the fans have been treated really well. The rapid rebuilding of the Buffalo fanbase that was extremely disillusioned (owners who hurt the community through their criminal activity can do that, afterall) is a real tribute to just how good the team has been to their fans.

    The issue that gets the fans riled up is not how they–we, really, but as I don’t live in Buffalo I’m less effected by this–are treated. Sabres fans are happy with that. It’s how the players are treated, and whether management decisions re: personnel will lead to success.

    And regarding player treatment:
    On the player relations front, the front office steadfastly refuses to discuss player contract details, or to negotiate through the media, even when it hurts their bargaining position. They also make a point of not letting internal disputes make it past the locker room, and only the coach is ever heard discussing player performance in the media. The press are accomodated, but not allowed to run roughshod over players’ privacy.

    I could say this about the Sabres as well. All of it. Again, none of this stuff is the problem. The problem is a) the refusal of the Sabres to negotiate during the season and b) the fact that they’re perceived (often correctly) to be cheap. But then again, last I checked, the Wild aren’t in the habit of spending all that much money either. :)

  23. 23 Meg September 15, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    And, er…I started that reply before Heather had posted. I swear, I’m not just trying to repeat what you’ve already said, Heather.

  24. 24 Heather B. September 15, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    Meg, no problem!

    But Heather, I don’t think players on long term injured reserve count against the salary cap.

    Kate, this initially bothered me too but I’m almost positive that I read somewhere why Teppo doesn’t qualify for LTIR. I’ll dig around and see if I can find it again.

  25. 25 Katebits September 15, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    …..Teppo doesn’t qualify for LTIR.

    Ooooh! I so hope that’s true! That would make me feel a LOT better about this.

  26. 26 Meg September 15, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    Heather, off the top of my head, the league would probably reject a request to put him on LTIR because the Sabres aren’t up against the cap at the moment. If they were to acquire someone then they probably could put him on it. If he get healthy, however, and still wants to play (and it sounds like he will if the surgery is a complete success) then they have to have enough cap room for it. So in that sense, it wouldn’t be logical to put him on LTIR.

    The only other thing I can think of is that his age when he signed the contract might be relevant.

    I kind of doubt the Sabres will do anything about bringing someone in until they know the outcome of his surgery. And if the news isn’t good, you have to think he’ll just retire.

  27. 27 Katebits September 15, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    I sounds like unless Teppo decides to retire, there is really no way to “dump” his salary at all (unless this is all leading up to the Sabres firing Teppo, or something). If there is any possibility of him returning, the Sabres have to leave room for him under the cap. Right?

  28. 28 Sam September 15, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Actually, Meg, the Wild were bumping up dangerously close to the edge of the salary cap last season, to the extent that they almost had to deal a couple of guys just to clear cap space when new guys had to be called up from Houston to replace injured regulars. True, they were low on payroll prior to last year, but they were an expansion team in 2000, and said from the outset that they’d spend money on players once they had built a solid organizational base. (Which they did.) The payroll’s a bit further from the cap this year, partly to allow for additions during the season, and partly (I’m sure) because the team will have a frightening number of unrestricted free agents next offseason.

    To everyone else: I wasn’t trying to imply that the Sabres don’t treat their fans well. I was implying that teams that devote themselves to their fan base and then mistreat their players quickly gain a terrible reputation among players. A company should treat its employees at least as well as it treats its customers. And to me, the Numminen situation is just one that would never, ever occur on most other NHL teams. (Oh, and BTW, I’m almost certain that Kate is right that Numminen’s salary wouldn’t have counted against the cap while he was on IR, so this was truly nothing but a cheapskate move to save a few bucks for the ownership.)

  29. 29 Sam September 15, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    Okay, wait. I don’t understand. Injured players can’t be placed on LTIR unless the team is up against the cap? That wouldn’t seem to make sense. says this:

    “For players that the team has filed an LTI exception, the team is allowed to exceed the cap by up to the amount of the injured player’s salary with as many replacement players as needed, provided that when the injured player is activated the team comes into compliance with the cap immediately. “

    So yes, they would need to clear cap space when/if Numminen returned, but with a situation like this one, that’s really a cross-that-bridge-when-you-come-to-it deal, isn’t it?

  30. 30 Heather B. September 15, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    I know his salary doesn’t count against the cap while he’s on IR but I was pretty sure that I’d read that either the Sabres freeing themselves from part of/all of his salary by suspending him and that there was a reason Teppo wasn’t placed on LTIR. But I’m beginning to feel I made that up because I can’t find it now.

    I sounds like unless Teppo decides to retire, there is really no way to “dump” his salary at all (unless this is all leading up to the Sabres firing Teppo, or something). If there is any possibility of him returning, the Sabres have to leave room for him under the cap. Right?

    Kate, I just flipped through the CBA and while I have to admit that I was very unclear on much of what I was reading, you appear to be correct. Which confuses me all over again.

    I might have to choose to quit thinking about this and focus solely on seeing Hank tomorrow.

  31. 31 Heather B. September 15, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    Sam, I think Meg is right. If the team isn’t up against the cap and therefore doesn’t need the cap relief allowed in the clause you cited, the player just stays on regular IR. I’m not positive but I remember having this discussion last year when the Sabres started dropping like flies. Tim Connolly wasn’t put on LTIR until the Sabres were in a position where they needed the cap relief to provide for call-ups and replacements.

  32. 32 Gambler September 15, 2007 at 4:49 pm

    I’m having a hard time accepting that this Teppo situation is indicative of how the Sabres generally treat their players. I mean, if they are really all about saving a buck over all else, why did they sign Tim Connolly to a new, three-year contract when they knew he had a long-term injury and a history of concussions? And how come they didn’t try to wiggle out of paying him for the 80 games he missed on IR? I dunno, maybe Timmy is the exception to the rule (and obviously he’s a lot younger, and hopefully has a lot of career ahead of him, unlike Teppo), but it just confuses me. I feel like there has to be more to this story.

  33. 33 Katebits September 15, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    I agree, Gambler. I think there IS more to this story. (I bet Connolly’s contract was insured and therefore less of a financial burden. I also bet the Sabres are hoping that Teppo retires seeing as though even if he does return he will certainly not be resigned. With Tim it was in their best interest to maintain his future rights.)

    I might have to choose to quit thinking about this and focus solely on seeing Hank tomorrow.

    Heather, I am sure that you are right to do so! Hank requires your full and undivided attention. This is making my head swim. I love Teppo, but I don’t need to think about him ALL DAY.

  34. 34 Heather B. September 15, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    Tim’s contract is also uninsured because of his concussion history. And Gambler, now that you mention it, I was very surprised when they signed him to it because it was more years and more money than they probably should’ve given him while not knowing when he’d be playing again. It was definitely a goodwill gesture on their part. I guess it’s possible that they just don’t value Teppo long-term as much as they do Tim which sucks for Teppo but certainly makes sense hockey-wise.

    But I’d have to agree that no matter how cheap and cold the Sabres have often been in the past, there has to be something glitch in the CBA that we don’t know about. Too bad we don’t have a local journalist who can be bothered to actually speak to the GM in a halfway fair and decent manner. Maybe I’ll email Darcy a link to my blog and ask him for an interview.

  35. 35 Meg September 15, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    Okay, wait. I don’t understand. Injured players can’t be placed on LTIR unless the team is up against the cap? That wouldn’t seem to make sense. says this:

    Sam, the information about the Sabres not being able to put Teppo on LTIR comes from Irish Blues on Aka the owner of It was explained in the thread on Numminen.

    Connolly was a bit of a different situation than Teppo in that his health problem was related to playing hockey, which made him ineligible for suspension. In order for a player to be suspended, they have to be unfit for reasons completely unrelated to their employment as a member of the NHL team.

  36. 36 ccomfort September 18, 2007 at 10:03 am

    I know noone likes the BFN, but have you read jerry sullivans article?

    They really did take teppo off the website, other than in news articles.

    My poor Teppo!


  37. 37 Christina September 20, 2007 at 12:25 am

    Teppo sounds like a Marx Brother (just an observation).

  38. 38 Download July 22, 2014 at 7:23 am

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