Bad Rhyme Wednesday: It's Friday, not today, per the CBA

KuklasKorner : NHL’s buyout, team-elected arbitration periods begin today
And as several reporters and bloggers have noted, including In Lou We Trust’s John Fischer, teams can begin filing for salary arbitration with their players today (the Devils are all but assured to do so in the case of Zach Parise to ward off restricted free agent offer sheets on July 1st), yielding a second buy-out period after their arbitration hearings.

However, several reporters and bloggers -- even the esteemed John Fischer -- are wrong. Here's what the CBA says re club-elected arbitration:

12.4 Notice of Club Election.

(a) A Club electing salary arbitration pursuant to Section 12.3(a) above must do so by making a written request [...] by not later than 5:00 p.m. New York time on the later of June 15 or 48 hours after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals [...].

...and re buy-outs:

Exhibit 1 - Standard Player Contract 13. The Club [...] may terminate this SPC on the following conditions: [...] (c) The notice of termination shall be effective if [...] faxed to the NHLPA and Central Registry as follows: (i) beginning the later of June 15 or forty-eight (48) hours after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals and ending at 5:00 p.m. New York time on June 30 [...].

...and here...

Exhibit 15 - Critical Date Calendar

Later of June 15 or 48 hours after conclusion of Stanley Cup Finals:
  • Moratorium on New SPCs Begins
  • First Buy-Out Period Begins
  • Deadline for First Club-Elected Salary Arbitration Notification (5:00 p.m. New York time)
  • What else? Oh yeah. The Kukla's Korner article (which may or may not be paraphrasing In Lou We Trust) says:

    [Filing for arbitration yields] a second buy-out period after their arbitration hearings.

    Two things about that.

  • It's gibberish. There's no buy-out period after an arbitration, for the (I would think obvious) reason that there is no contract to buy out. The player's contract expired on 7/1.
  • I'm an idiot and an ass.

    Article 11.8 provides three coupons to be used over the term of the CBA (2005-2012) to each club for buying out a contract post-arbitration:

    11.18 Ordinary Course Buy-Outs Outside the Regular Period.

    Clubs shall have the right to exercise Ordinary Course Buy-Outs outside the regular period for Ordinary Course Buy-Outs in accordance with Paragraph 13(c)(ii) of the SPC. Each Club shall be limited to no more than three (3) such buyouts over the term of this Agreement [...]. However, in the event that a Club has only one salary arbitration hearing [...] in a given League Year, such Club shall not be entitled to exercise such a buyout outside the regular period for Ordinary Course Buy-Outs. No Club shall exercise an Ordinary Course Buy-out outside the regular period for any Player earning less than $1 million.

    Exhibit 1, SPC paragraph 13(c)(ii):

    For Clubs who have Club or Player elected Salary Arbitration filings pursuant to Article 12, [the club may file for termination] within the forty-eight (48) hour period beginning on the third day following the later of: (i) the Club's receipt of its last salary arbitration award; or (ii) settlement of its last case [...]

    In other words, if the player is making more than $1MM, and the club has more than one arbitration in that year, and the team has not exercised more than 2 Ordinary Course Buy-Outs "outside the normal period," and the player clears waivers, then the club may buy-out the player's newly-awarded SPC.

    There are also, per 12.10, "walk-away rights". A team can "walk away" from an arbitrator's ruling in a player-elected arbitration, rendering the player a UFA with no buy-out costs to the team. They can "walk away" once in a summer where they have 1-2 arbitrations, twice if they have 3, and it increases from there. But it can't walk away from the ruling of an arbitrator in a club-elected arbitration.

    I had no idea about the three coupons. I grovel in mortification.