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NHLPA might take issue with Montreal’s decision to send Gomez home

Jan 15, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

Jets Canadiens Hockey AP

The Montreal Canadiens have made it clear that they intend to use an amnesty buyout on Scott Gomez‘s contract this summer. Until then, they won’t let him play.

The reason for that is simple: If Gomez sustains an injury that lasts through the summer, then he can’t be bought out. The Canadiens are already pushing against the cap and with it set to go down to $64.3 million in 2013-14, shedding Gomez’s $7,357,143 hit seems like their best option.

It might not be that simple though as the NHLPA is reviewing the situation, according to RDS’ Renaud Lavoie.

Why? Sports lawyer Eric Macramalla recently explained what might happen in an article for CBS Sports:

It would not be unreasonable for the NHLPA to grieve the expulsion of Gomez. Contract law obligations flow both ways. Part of that includes providing Gomez the reasonable opportunity to discharge the services he has been contracted to provide. In part, the NHLPA could argue sending home a perfectly healthy player with no off-ice issues simply with a view to preserving an amnesty buyout is not in keeping with the spirit of the contract. The NHLPA could say Gomez is being banished not because he failed to discharge his contractual obligations, but simply because of newly implemented system issues.

The union might also argue that forcing Gomez to miss the entire season will hurt his market value. The 33-year-old forward is coming off a horrendous season and the Canadiens’ decision will make it impossible for him to earn some sort of redemption before he enters the free agent market.

Gomez had two goals and 11 points in 38 games in 2011-12. He got some playing time with the ECHL Alaska Aces during the lockout and recorded six goals and 13 points in 11 contests.

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