Ever since Jame Sheppard injured himself riding an ATV, there has been speculation about how the Wild would handle his contract. They carried the right to suspend Sheppard, to place him on IR, to place him on LTIR, or to simply do nothing. Doing nothing did not seem to be a viable option, and placing him on the IR gives the team no benefit. Between suspending him and placing him on LTIR, the difference is whether or not Sheppard would receive a paycheck or not.
Today, the Wild used a rarely talked about provision in the CBA to designate him an "injured non-roster player." Make the jump to discuss what that means.
The CBA, in all of its wonderful glory, defines this designations as:
16.11 (a) For any other Player who fails the Club's initial physical examination in any League Year, or is injured, ill or disabled while not on the Club's Active Roster, he shall not be eligible for, and may not be placed on, Injured Reserve, but instead shall be eligible to be, and may be designated as, Injured Non- Roster.
You're not a lawyer, you say? It turns out, this is basically an IR for players who were not already on the roster. Sheppard was not on the roster, due to his injury taking place before camp started. The section of the CBA goes on to explain:
(c) Players on the Injured Reserve List may attend team meetings, travel with the Club (at the Club's option) and participate in practice sessions with other Players on the Club's Active Roster. Players on Injured Reserve are prohibited from appearing in NHL Games, participating in pre-game warm-ups with their Clubs, or dressing in game uniforms on NHL Game days. Players on Injured Reserve and Injured Non-Roster shall have access to the Club's primary training and medical facilities during regular business hours provided, however, that the Club may restrict such Players' access during periods when Players on the Club's Active Roster are expected to be present at such primary training and medical facilities (e.g. pre-game skates, practices, games, medical and physical treatments for other Players) and within a reasonable period of time before and after such time periods.
In other words, Sheppard can still access the team workout areas, and attend meetings, etc, but in no way, shape, or form, may he participate in a practice. He can access the team doctors, but the Wild can limit his exposure to the rest of the team.
As of right now, this designation is simply a roster move. Placing this designation on Sheppard means he does not count toward the 23 man roster, and the team can replace him on the roster, as they have already done. The CBA specifies that an injured non-roster player is still paid his salary and still counts toward the cap hit of the team.
By not placing Sheppard on the roster and then putting him on IR, the Wild leave the door open to suspending Sheppard. At this point, as much as it appears that is the road they are headed down, they have not done so.
And the James Sheppard drama continues...