I'm not sure why this was never brought up, but with Brian Lee put on waivers today after being a healthy scratch for so long, did the young defenseman at any time get asked to go on a conditioning stint to the Binghmamton Senators? And if so, did he refuse to go (as would be his right due to his one-way contract)?
It wasn't too long ago, maybe three weeks, that assistant GM Tim Murray was on Ottawa radio and was asked if Lee could be sent down for a conditioning stint. Murray said it was definitely possible, but no one could force Lee to accept the assignment. The CBA rules seem to say that players can be sent down for a maximum of 14 days with the players consent (and with the player receiving his full salary and it also counting against the cap).
Now, with the complexity of the CBA, perhaps Lee wasn't even eligible for an assignment in the end (he hasn't been injured, just scratched), but Tim Murray at least seemed to believe it was a legitimate move at the time if Bryan Murray so chose.
Nobody has reported on this since then, to my knowledge, but logic would tell me that Lee must have been asked and decided not to go. Is there any CBA experts out there who can shed some light on this?
Regardless, being put on waivers probably means that his career with the Senators is over, at least for this season, because calling him back up would allow another team to claim him and stick the Sens with half the bill. Having a one-way deal in the minors is a bad proposition for players like Lee. It's a black hole.
In a way, it's surprising this move wasn't done a while ago. Every day Lee was on the roster ticked off money from the cap and he wasn't even the seventh defenseman. He was the eighth once Filip Kuba returned from injury and stuck behind David Hale in the pecking order. Likely Murray was just trying to get some kind of asset in return before being forced to bury him in the minors where Lee is bound to play out his two-year deal unless a team gets desperate enough to make a trade rather than wait for him to become available on waivers again.
As of this time, Lee hasn't cleared waivers yet. Maybe he does get picked up. Colorado? Minnesota?
That one-way deal is a big hindrance to both Lee and any suitors out there.
On a sad note, Hall of Fame hockey writer Jim Kelley passed away today after a fight with cancer. Anyone who took the time to read his columns regularly over the years already knows he was one of the better ones. Always had something interesting to say, and had a colourful career to say the least.
Along with Red Fisher, Roy MacGregor and Stan Fischler, Kelley was one of the writers I've always looked up to and tried to learn from.
He'll be missed .