Bryan Berard's possible comeback
It’s been reported on the FAN590 in Toronto and Sportsnet.ca, that after skating with friends, as well as the US Olympic team camp, that Bryan Berard is contemplating a comeback.
With the aid of a specially fitted contact lense, it would increase his sight to the point where he would pass the league’s minimum vision requirement. The sources also indicate that up to 9 teams are interested in obtaining him, including the Maple Leafs. Can anyone shed some light on this? I thought that the Leafs still held his rights? I never heard anything to the effect that the Leafs released him after he retired. Anyway, I would love to see #34 back with the Buds, from the last 3 exibition games, it looks like they need him.
As a side note to this, rumours were swirling yesterday that the Leafs and Cujo were close to an extension, has anyone else heard anything to that effect??
GO LEAFS GO!
Puckboy Adds: Since you asked for someone to shed more light on the subject…
The September issue of the hockey news reports that: Berard is legally blind in his right eye. You are allowed to play at the minor league level with one good eye, but not in the NHL. A person must have at least 20/400 vision and Berard doesn’t, he’s more like 20/600, but hopes special contacts will aid his case.
Rangers assistant GM Don Maloney went to the USA camp to watch Berard. There are at least 8 teams that have shown some degree of interest in Berard since the Olympic camp. The Rangers, Leafs, Thrashers, Kings, Panthers, Wings, Blues and Coyotes are the teams the Hockey News lists. The article goes on to say that Berard is an UNrestricted free agent but doesn’t explain why. I am guessing that the length of his retirement has surpassed the duration of his contract with the Leafs.
At the camp, many players gave him lots of praise and encouragment. At one point Brett Hull skated up to him and asked “Why the hell did you retire again?”
Chris Chelios added, “You would never know if you just watched him play. To me he seems fine. He has a blind spot on one side but, maybe he can adjust to it.”
Berard’s agent, Tom Laidlaw, is considering legal action if the league refuses to let him play, even if the contacts work. It’s believed that they could use the argument that pro golfer Casey Martin used in the US Supreme court to allow him to use a golf cart. This was based on the Americans with Disabilities Act.