After announcing last month that Matt Murray would be on LTIR, have surgery, and miss time, some small details have been added. The process is described as "bilateral hip surgery". Bilateral simply means both sides, so the exact type of surgery is not described here.
The most likely procedure is some form of hip resurfacing or replacement where all or part of the joint is replaced with a metal or plastic component to allow the ball and socket of the joint to fit correctly. Patrick Kane had hip resurfacing in June, and is just at the beginning of his four to six months timeframe for recovery.
Six to eight months is very close to the entire season, giving a recovery time of April to June for Murray.
At the time the Leafs announced the decision had been made to try a surgical repair of Murray's issues that had kept him from playing complete seasons over several years, some media outlets – including a broadsheet newspaper – used the term "cap circumvention" to describe this process.
LTIR has now gone from the thing no one understands the purpose of to the thing no one understands, but is nonetheless suspicious of. Occam's Razor has grown dull from lack of use and movie logic has taken over – everyone is hatching a plot or concocting a scheme, and there's no such thing as just bad luck.
The salary cap is not a punishment system for the teams or for the players. In Murray's case, the LTIR system just barely accommodates him. If he recovers by the spring – in the sense that he can begin practicing and working out to try to return to play – he can have only six days in the AHL to see if he's fit. That's days, not games. He can participate in three games maximum, with the potential extension of two more games. This system works fine for a skater who has had some kind of muscular tissue injury or a bone fracture who needs to be sure he's healthy before he resumes play. For a goalie having hip surgery, he needs a more gradual return to form.
No team is going to reactivate a goalie from LTIR in those circumstances because no doctor can say yes or no to his actual fitness to play – as opposed to go wander the Loblaws to pick up a few things without crutches.
If you – or the reporters for broadsheet newspapers – want to see crime and punishment drama, plots, schemes, lies and the wheel of justice rolling over the guilty surely Law and Order is on somewhere right now.