This might sound like one of those bogus lawsuits, but it's not that. Under the CBA a player's salary still counts against the cap EVEN IF he dies. My interprtation then is that when the player dies it is then up to the union (the NHLPA) to file a grievance for the back salary left on his contract. The NHLPA failed to log the grievance in time to collect the back salary.
Way back in time I was a member of a union and showed up 10 minutes late for work during a terrible storm. I was sent home for the day for being late and docked a days pay. The rules were that you had to be more than 20 minutes late to be sent home for the day. Union filed a grievance and I got my day's pay back.
This is exactly the same thing, but the problem is that the union NHLPA dropped the ball.
Plus, ask any lawyer, cardinal sin of lawyers is to miss a due date and that's what happened here.
The NHLPA might be off the hook if they can claim that the family owed them some document or other and didn't cough it up in time, or something like that.
I always wondered about the clause that said the players salary still counted against the cap even if he died. I think it was a cheeseball clause put in by the NHL in order to duck out of the balance due on the contract money. Sounds to me like the union just shrugged it off thinking that it would be unlikely that a player would die during the season.
It's a point these chuckleheads should think a little more about. It wouldn't be the first time in history if the team's plane crashed and just about the whole team died (as what happened in Russia a year or so back).
Can you imagine a team being under the cap by even 10 million, but having no players?