The Buffalo Sabres announced today that they have suspended defenseman Teppo Numminen for not reporting to camp physically fit. This news came out much earlier today so I'm not breaking any News here. it appears that most of the feedback on this move is negative. Once again Darcy Regier is being criticized for making the right move.
The Sabres are not upset with Numminen for not showing up physically fit but the fact remains that they should not be obligated to pay his $2.6 million which could hurt the franchises chances to sign someone to fill in. The Sabres acted in the best way possible for the franchise, end of story. If this could have been done differently it would have been but sometimes you have to make difficult choices and this is one of them.
The Sabres two months ago signed Numminen to a one-year, $2.6 million contract but didn't insure it. Suspending him gets the team off the hook for the guaranteed salary.
"There's a clause explicitly in the contract that states the player must pass the physical and be fit to play," Regier said. "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.
The best way to handle this situation is for everyone to relax and hope for the best for Teppo. It is hard to have one heart surgery in life but three by age of 39 has to be extremely difficult. The Sabres and Teppo both understand the severity of the situation and also understand that a suspension was necessary to help the team.
In other news regarding this topic, Numminen has said he intends to resume his career and possibly as soon as December. This seems optimistic to me but we'll wait and see.
"It's been quite an emotional week," Numminen said Friday, a day after the Sabres announced he will have surgery. "And my plan was to play for the Sabres this year, and that hasn't changed. If everything goes well, I will play."
Numminen said doctors have assured him that - barring complications - he will be able to live a normal life, including resuming his career, and could be back in the lineup as early as December.
The loss of Numminen is going to hurt the Sabres more than some people want to believe. Numminen is not a flashy defenseman and is seldom noticed on the ice but he is always solid. At age 39 he may have lost a step or two but his knowledge of the game is unmatched. The loss of Numminen opens up some playing time for younger guys like Paetsch and Sekera but they will not be able to help defensively the way Numminen would have.