Friday, September 22, 2017

Have NHL Teams Committed Insurance Fraud?

Over the past few NHL seasons, there have been a few suspicious moves involving Long Term Injured Reserve, where some players with bad contracts have been labelled unable to play indefinitely. There has yet to be any actionable evidence of healthy players being placed on LTIR to circumvent the salary cap, until it appeared that Joffrey Lupul was one such case thanks to a social media post. He has since back tracked on his original words in a statement that was likely crafted by lawyers.

If it's true that Lupul is healthy and has been healthy for a while, then he better not have been collecting insurance money. If he was healthy last year and collected any injury insurance, guess what, that's a crime. If he knew he was healthy and collected payouts, Lupul would be guilty of a crime. He made an Instagram post that could have implicated himself in insurance fraud.

I was a bit surprised that the NHL ordered an independent evaluation of Lupul's health. It seemed like something they'd rather just go away, instead of risking Lupul being pronounced fully healthy and exposing one of it's teams possibly being guilty of fraud. Even if it's a small probability he passes the physical, it would open a Pandora's Box. I'd want to be listening to sportstalk radio in Toronto if that news broke.

Ordering Lupul to take a new independent physical is probably the smartest thing for the NHL to do from a legal perspective. If any insurance fraud did take place, the league will not want to seem complicit. If he fails the physical, everything is fine and there's nothing to see here. I'll be fascinated to see how Bettman responds if Lupul is deemed 100% healthy. He'll probably have to punish the Leafs and his old friend Lou Lamoriello...

And please guys, make sure it's a truly independent Doctor who conducts this. Don't send James Woods from Any Given Sunday....

Also, here's something I wrote about Marian Hossa LTIR cap recapture circumvention.

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