Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Other Shoe Falls on Kovalchuk Contract and Wednesday Wrap-Up

Is anyone really surprised that the Ilya Kovalchuk saga has yet to see a final conclusion?

After dragging on 19 days into free agency an agreement was reached with the New Jersey Devils and announced on Monday. A formal press conference was held yesterday with the full dog and pony show with all the right folks in attendance.

From the moment the news leaked as to the terms of the contract on Monday, there was not single person with any knowledge of the CBA or just regular folks with a little common sense that didn't think that the gist of the contract was to circumvent the CBA.

Last night's news that the contract was "rejected" by the NHL was only peculiar in that it took over 24 hours for the league to come to the same conclusion. It is reported that he NHL had five days to reject the contract, even if it made it through the initial review with central registry and that the NHLPA then has five days to appeal the rejection to arbitration.

While other recent contracts pushed the limits, this one clearly was the one that broke the proverbial camel's back. The key issues were the total length, the variance between years, and the probable reality that Kovalchuk will not play for 17 more years.

I am pleased that the league is drawing a line in the dirt on paying 44 year olds "chump change" (by comparison) in order to spread the cap hit over 17 years. I am not happy that they waited until after Devils fans were whipped into a frenzy and the official presser was held.

A major player in the whole Kovulchuk ordeal who may take a bum rap in the matter is Kovi's agent, Jay Grossman. I am convinced that he works hard for his clients and is above board in his actions. Even Lou Lamoriello was highly complementary of Jay at the presser. My dealings with him have been refreshingly positive and he has been honest and forthcoming in our discussions.

I think the eventuality will be that behind closed doors in the next few days, money will be shifted and the term reduced as a compromise not to further aggravate the growing hostility between the league and the NHLPA.

The negotiations for the new contract at the end of the 2012 season are a darkening cloud on the horizon and contracts like this one will be a key point where the owners will want a rule in place to protect them from themselves.

Three thoughtful posts about the rejection come from Puck Daddy, Adrian Dater and Craig Custance. TSN also has a factual post including the specific language upon which the rejection was based.If you are really worked up and want to read the entire 475 page CBA document, Cap Geek has a copy handy.

The league also offered this official statement via this morning with no time table for resolution.

National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly today issued the following statement regarding the free agent contract forward Ilya Kovalchuk signed with the New Jersey Devils: "The contract has been rejected by the League as a circumvention of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Under the CBA, the contract rejection triggers a number of possible next steps that may be elected by any or each of the NHLPA, the Player and/or the Club. In the interim, the player is not entitled to play under the contract, nor is he entitled to any of the rights and benefits that are provided for thereunder. The League will have no further comment on this matter pending further developments."

In Pred Nation...

Ryan Porth has the details of his new gig as the Predator's correspondent to The Fourth Period. It is really impressive watching the Pred's coverage grow. Our condolences to Ryan and his family in the passing of his grandfather in Iowa early yesterday. Everyone, please send your thoughts and prayers their way. The funeral is Saturday.

Jim Diamond writes that Matthew Lombardi will be a good fit for the Predators and I agree.

Forechecker has the Pred's press release regarding their donation of $125,000 to the Monroe Carrell Children s Hospital at Vanderbilt. He was also up early today with his breakfast links that includes a little cheese cake with the new Pred's dancers. He also did a good job talking hockey on 104.5 last night.

PredsBlog had another Puck Pile yesterday that includes things you may have missed in the hockey world.

Dave Gutzman has Ten Remaining Questions about the Predators.

Jeremy at Section 303 has a list of games that fans don't want to miss in the upcoming season. There should be a new edition of the 303:30 up soon with Kevin Weekes in the near future. I can't wait to hear more from Kevin.

Around the NHL...

Prior to all hell breaking loose last might, Michelle Kenneth was the leader of the pack in calling the Kovalchuk to the Devils deal. Here are her thoughts on The Day After as well as an interview at MTR Media. The Day After piece is fairly heavy stuff as Michelle is very open with her thoughts.

Chris Wassel wrote about the presser and the last sentence in his post was an ominous thought that was at the root of last night's developments.

Sports Business Journal has an extended look at sports team's use of social media with ten different folks in the business. The variety of angles here is interesting.

RLD Hockey analyzes several front loaded contracts that make a mockery of common sense but are allowed under the current CBA.

Mike Modano wants to skate a bit in August before making a final decision on playing in the coming season.

Russ Cohen has nice things to say about Simon Gagne as he leaves the Flyers.

The Thrashers have banned vuvuzelas. It should be a league wide rule.

In an effort to keep hockey in the news comes this bit of information from @EJHradek_ESPN: The NHL is planning a Winter Classic kick-off press conference at Heinz Field next Tuesday (7/27). Prominent players are expected to attend.

Intent to Blow uncovers the basis for the 17 year gazillion dollar contract with Kovalchuk. Lou Lamoriello is trying to force a lockout so he can take an extended vacation.

Knucklepuck at Fanhouse has a vision of what the NHL will look like in 2026.

Odds and Ends...

An Amish teenager was charged with multiple offenses, including alcohol possession and "over driving an animal," after his attempt to flee the police with his horse and buggy early Tuesday morning. You never know what could happen next. Thanks to Michelle Kenneth for the heads up on this atrocity.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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