The Club | American League contracts, punt returns and the good old tape


Latest edition of our Lighter Holiday Clubs. We’re back in force next week!

Where is the money going?

When a player is transferred to the American League, is his salary reduced from the payroll?

Germain Rioux

Response from Simon-Olivier Lorange:

Yes, but up to a point. The collective agreement in force in the NHL provides for a maximum amount for this purpose. Thus, a team can “bury” up to $1,125,000 by giving up a player in the minors in 2022-2023. For example, if the Canadiens decided to send Jordan Harris to Laval, he could erase his average salary of $842,500 from his books. In return, if, in a hypothetical scenario, he wanted to do the same with Jake Evans, he would have to keep $575,000 on his payroll, the difference between his average salary of 1.7 million and the maximum deduction.

The little history of the differential


Michael Pezzetta (55) en route to the penalty box during a game in Dallas on Dec. 23

How are +/- managed during penalties? Does a player in the penalty box have a minus on his record for an opponent’s goal? What about the players on the ice, and during a 4 against 4 (double minor)?

Francois Pelland

Response from Alexander Pratt:

Take the fictional case of Nick Suzuki. If he is on the ice while the Canadian counts on the power play, his differential remains intact. On the other hand, if it is the opponent who counts during the Habs’ power play, Suzuki will be – 1. Conversely, if Suzuki is on the ice while the Canadian scores a shorthanded goal, it will be + 1. During a 4 against 4 or a 3 against 3, all the goals are included in the differential. Finally, if the Canadian withdraws his goalkeeper at the end of a meeting and Suzuki is on the play when the opponent counts in an empty net, it will be – 1.

Punt returns under the magnifying glass


Buffalo Bills’ Nyheim Hines (20) chased by Detroit Lions players last November

My question is about kick returns in football. Why do we never use a running back to return kicks? Since this player is already used to crossing the line of scrimmage and breaking tackles against tough defensive linemen, it seems to me that it would be even easier for him to break tackles against players who are on the move and have to try to catch him. He could more easily escape and thus reap long gains.

Daniel Bouchard

Response from Nicholas Richard:

Hello, Mr. Bouchard. Even if we see fewer and fewer punt returns in the NFL, it is true that it is not always the running backs who make them. What could explain this fact is first of all the risk of injury. Good ball carriers are so valuable, there are more injuries and players hit harder. So some teams don’t want such an important player to risk serious injury for improved five-yard or ten-yard positioning. However, the best reason is probably that not all players are made or cut out for this phase of play. Nyheim Hines of the Buffalo Bills explained it well a few years ago. Indeed, he has already said that « it’s something you have or you don’t have ». Hines is a return specialist, but he insisted that to accept being the only target of 11 players who take a 50-yard swing, « it takes a special person to look up in the air while the others just want to rip your head off. »

Non-guaranteed contracts in the NFL


Contracts in the NFL aren’t guaranteed, and that’s one of the biggest failures of the players’ union…

I would like to know how non-guaranteed contracts work in American football.

Denis Gravel

Response from Richard Labbé:

Hello, Dennis. In fact, contracts in the NFL aren’t guaranteed, and it’s one of the NFL Players Union’s greatest failures…and by extension, one of the owners’ greatest triumphs! Thus, a player can say yes to a three-year contract, be fired after one year, and no longer receive a single dollar from the last two years of his contract. There is one exception, though: top players (often quarterbacks) are quite regularly successful in negotiating guaranteed deals. In this regard, the NHL Players’ Union has been successful for a very long time in obtaining guaranteed contracts for all players, and this is why Carey Price, for example, will be able to receive his full salary down to the last dollar without being worried.

The good old type


In October, rookie Juraj Slafkovsky put little tape on his stick blade.

At 21e century, hockey sticks are made of modern, flexible and solid materials. Why do we still put good old “tape” on the paddle like in the NHL with the old wooden sticks?

John Guy

Response from Simon-Olivier Lorange:

It’s not a question of strength, but of grip. The tape allows the puck to “stick” to the blade of the stick, which allows for greater accuracy. Some Habs players also made fun, at the very beginning of the season, of the way Juraj Slafkovsky wrapped his stick – barely a few pieces at the end. After the young man had scored his first career goal, Brendan Gallagher also provided this explanation: “He started putting tape on his stick like an NHL player. »


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