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Lightning cover Stephane Veilleux surgery costs

It was close to becoming an incredible sour dispute over what is essentially a miniscule price for an NHL, when the Tampa Bay Lightning initially refused to cover the surgery costs for pending free agent Stephane Veilleux. The team had claimed that since his injury could not be proven to be directly related to hockey, and could the be claimed as a “non-hockey related injury” the team was exempt from covering surgery costs under the collective bargaining agreement.

Agent Allan Walsh then went on a public scorched earth campaign, telling anyone who would listen about the injustice his client was receiving at the hands of the team as word came down that a greivance would be filed by the NHLPA for Veilleux. Before the grievance was actually filed, however, Walsh pulled back as it seems the team might have come to their senses.

From Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times:

“We had conversations with Tampa (Thursday),” Walsh said. “They have accepted financial responsibility for Stephane Veilleux’s surgery and rehab, and the matter is resolved to all parties satisfaction, and it’s over.”

“We are glad this was amicably resolved,” Lightning spokesman Bill Wickett said.

Now, the Lightning might have had an actual case as it seems the injury of concern has to do with an impingement of the suprascrapular nerve, which generally occurs in tennis players. Veilleux is a regular tennis and ping pong player, and this is where the team claimed the injury came from.

Yet no such injury was found in preseason physicals held by the team, which was then discovered after the season was over. So the injury occurred during the season, but neither side is able to pinpoint an exact injury that occurred either on or off the ice. Who knows exactly what might have happened had a grievance been filed, but there’s no doubt that the Lightning come out of this mess with a bit of egg on their faces.