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Lightning cover Stephane Veilleux surgery costs

May 14, 2010, 3:15 PM EDT

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It was close to becoming an incredible sour dispute over what is
essentially a miniscule price for an NHL, when the Tampa Bay Lightning
initially refused to cover the surgery costs for pending free agent
Stephane Veilleux. The team had claimed that since his injury could not
be proven to be directly related to hockey, and could the be claimed as a
“non-hockey related injury” the team was exempt from covering surgery
costs under the collective bargaining agreement.

Agent Allan Walsh
then went on a public scorched earth campaign, telling anyone who would
listen about the injustice his client was receiving at the hands of the
team as word came down that a greivance would be filed by the NHLPA for
Veilleux. Before the grievance was actually filed, however, Walsh
pulled back as it seems the team might have come to their senses.

From
Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times:

“We had conversations with Tampa (Thursday),” Walsh said. “They have
accepted financial responsibility for Stephane Veilleux’s surgery and
rehab, and the matter is resolved to all parties satisfaction, and it’s
over.”

“We are glad this was amicably resolved,” Lightning spokesman Bill
Wickett said.

Now, the Lightning might have had an actual case as it seems the
injury of concern has to do with an impingement of the suprascrapular
nerve, which generally occurs in tennis players. Veilleux is a regular
tennis and ping pong player, and this is where the team claimed the
injury came from.

Yet no such injury was found in preseason physicals held by the team,
which was then discovered after the season was over. So the injury
occurred during the season, but neither side is able to pinpoint an
exact injury that occurred either on or off the ice. Who knows exactly
what might have happened had a grievance been filed, but there’s no
doubt that the Lightning come out of this mess with a bit of egg on
their faces.

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