Teppo Numminen returned to the ice and skated for about 90 minutes this morning in HSBC Arena. There's no way to tell yet if he's going to be able to play at all this season -- I'd say chances of that are slim at best -- but Numminen feels he should be getting paid now that he's been medically cleared to practice. The Sabres, of course, put him on the suspended list in September and Numminen has a grievance going on his behalf through the NHLPA.
"I'm disappointed. It was a surprise for me," Numminen said today, speaking in depth on the Sabres' actions for the first time since his surgery. "I felt disappointed from the start. But sleeping over and thinking about it, I'm not going to go away. This is their decision. I don't agree with it. But we're all big men here. The [players association] and the league is going clear the issue on it.
"If you're cleared to play, you're cleared to play. Talk to the lawyers. That's what it is now. There's a grievance on it and that's going to be settled in the future. We're not going to settle it here. That's our opinion of it and that's how I'm looking at it and the PA is looking at it."
Numminen said he thought the Sabres would finally take him off the suspended list and pay him this week once he was medically cleared to play. But that hasn't happened because the team maintains his heart ailment was not a hockey-related injury. Hmmm. Hard to argue.
Of course, the Sabres' mistake here may have been signing a 39-year-old with an iffy heart to a $2.6 million deal last summer. They're trying to get out of some of that money and Teppo is trying to get some back.
This one is far from over.