The NHLPA has been telling its players to prepare for a lockout for a while, and now they are making sure the message gets across.
To clarify what the lockout will entail, the NHLPA sent the players a memo, which was acquired by USA Today's Kevin Allen. It is essentially a "What You Need To Know" in case of a lockout -- and the procedure and protocols that will entail.
An important part of it mentions that injured players are still due their money. So a guy like Chris Pronger, who is still under contract but is not in condition to play, will still get his pay check even if the league is locked out.
"If you are unfit to play because of a hockey-related injury when a lockout begins, you are entitled to receive your salary until you are fit to play," the memo said. "If you are currently injured, you should make sure that your condition is fully documented and that your club is aware of it. If you do not receive your salary payment when it becomes due, you should contact your agent and/or the NHLPA legal department immediately."
Something tells me that a lot of players around the league suddenly aren't feeling too well. That nagging injury that they played through all season long? It's acting up now. Then again, owners would probably require three physicals first.
The memo goes on to state that players are indeed able to sign in other leagues and play during the lockout, but they need to be warned of the potential consequences. Players injured while with another team could face suspensions without pay as long as they are unable to play.
Of course, if players are due signing bonuses then they won't have to worry about coming up with some injury to get paid; those will still be due, too. So guys like Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise probably won't be the first ones seeking other leagues.
The memo also let players know that they shouldn't worry about changing locations, trades will likely be shut down as long as the players are. But the young guys who are eligible to return to juniors can be sent down before the lockout.
It's nothing terribly earth-shattering for the players, just the NHLPA doing its job and making sure its members know what's going on and what they can/can't do. But it's just another reminder that a lockout is right around the corner -- and we all need to prepare for life without the NHL.
For those keeping score at home, we're now less than 10 days away from the CBA expiring and the NHL officially having its third work stoppage in the past two decades.