The NHLPA often uses conference calls to keep its members, many of whom cannot attend bargaining sessions due to being overseas or just otherwise unavailable, aware of what has been going on–or not going on–in terms of negotiations surrounding the NHL lockout. These conference calls sometimes have more than 100 listeners, which makes me wonder how anyone gets a word in edgewise, but I digress.
Rumor has it that someone who decided to take this year off even before the lockout began has been sitting in on these conference calls–none other than Tim Thomas, (formerly?) of the Boston Bruins. His decision to take a year off for the sake of his family and friends is respectable and, at the time, I was happy to accept that. But he burned bridges with some fans when he followed that up by showing support on his Facebook page for Chick-fil-A restaurants despite their anti-LGBT giving practices and aligning with the Catholic church as they fight the new health care law’s requirement for employers to offer contraceptive coverage to their employees.
I digress again.
Reportedly, a few different sources said that Thomas was part of one of these mass conference calls recently, but he didn’t say anything, just listened to what was being discussed.
Resolutions to end the lockout could affect him in a few different ways. For example, if the salary cap is affected, then the Bruins could be in a pinch because they’re already right at the top of the list of teams in terms of salary (about $69 million of an allowed $70.2 million). The team is still responsible for his $5 million cap hit no matter what, so if there’s a salary cap squeeze, they could look to offload his hit by looking to trade him to another team, perhaps one that needs help hitting the salary floor.
Interestingly, the Colorado Avalanche are in that position. They’re near the bottom of the list for salary at about $54 million. Only six teams have smaller salaries than the Avs right now. I suggest the Avs because they’re in the state where Thomas is with his family right now. Other people have suggested the New York Islanders (at $50 million in salary) take on his contract, but why not Colorado? Even if he doesn’t play, he’ll at least be able to stick by his family.
Right now, though, everything is up in the air, littered with question marks. Just like every other player, Thomas is just trying to figure out what on Earth is happening and how it could affect his bottom line. He just happens to be in quite a different situation, though.