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NHL looking into lineup mistake

Monday, 12.14.2009 / 4:15 PM / News

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"If they use an ineligible player for the game, there's a provision that would allow the Commissioner to forfeit the game in his discretion." -- NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly

NEW YORK -- What happens when a minor-league player suddenly appears on an NHL roster without notice?

For starters, it's possible the team that didn't take the necessary steps to inform the League of the transaction could be forced to forfeit the game.

And while the Montreal Canadiens didn't forfeit their game following their blunder in an eventual 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 8, the League is currently discussing the matter with upper management to learn why the team called up forward Ryan White and inserted him into a game without first notifying the League.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly discussed the issue as a guest of NHL Live! with Don LeGreca and E.J. Hradek Monday afternoon.

"If they use an ineligible player for the game, there's a provision that would allow the Commissioner to forfeit the game in his discretion," Daly said.

White was called up from Montreal's American Hockey League affiliate in Hamilton on Dec. 8 and then took four shifts totaling just over three minutes against the Senators that night before the error was brought to the team's attention.

"The Canadiens have an obligation to make a filing with the League office, notifying us (by 5 p.m. ET) that they are adding Ryan White to their active roster," Daly said. "But they hadn't done that. So according to our records, he was still an AHL player and wasn't eligible to play. He was not on that active roster at the time the game started.

"It was a simple filing issue but, obviously, simple filing issues can entail broader concepts under the Collective Bargaining Agreement and problems under the CBA with your cap accounting obligation and active roster, if they were (above) their 23-man limit. That would have been an additional issue, but that wasn't the case."

Daly admitted he learned of the situation while attending a meeting in Nashville.

"We have off-ice personnel at every arena for every game and it was (that person) who notified us about the ineligible player on the Montreal Canadiens," Daly said. "At that point in time, a call goes out to Central Registry. I pulled out of my meeting (in Nashville) and we handled it."

Daly admitted it is a League matter at this point and discussions are ongoing.

"We have a whole bunch checks and balances in the League that have been put into place to make sure this doesn't happen," Daly said. "Obviously, in this circumstance, something fell through the cracks that we have to address internally. Hopefully, we'll never see it again."
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