Ilya Kovalchuk (non) update and some Capitals news
No word yet on whether the NHLPA will file a grievance over the NHL's decision to reject Ilya Kovachuk's 17-year contract with the Devils. But this much I can tell you: The entire hockey world is checking e-mail and Twitter every few minutes looking for an update on this intriguing matter.
A decision could come today. But things could also drag out through the weekend, according to Devils beat writer Tom Gulitti, who also offered this nugget on his blog, Fire and Ice, earlier today:
As for Kovalchuk's status -- whether he is an unrestricted free agent or Devils property -- New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello wouldn't answer that question either. According to someone who would know but was not authorized to speak publicly on the subject, Kovalchuk is still contractually linked to the Devils, though that contract is not considered legal by the NHL. So he is not a UFA and is not free to speak with other teams about a contract. He could change that by requesting that the NHLPA not pursue the matter with a grievance, but that does not appear to be his intention.
In this article from the National Post, several agents say they don't believe the NHL "has a leg to stand on" if the case goes before an arbitrator.
"I can tell you that during bargaining, that the league was not successful in negotiating rules to limit the length of contract a player can sign with a club," said player agent Ian Pulver, who was one of the authors of the CBA. "So the NHL is going to have to show evidence that the club and the player were trying to defeat rules in the collective agreement, because they can't certainly prove that a player will not play when he's 44 years old. You have to have the evidence to support that. Saying 'we think' is not strong enough."
And the plot thickens.
We'll post an update when there's more to report.
In the meantime, here are a few other newsy tidbits that happened while I've been away on vacation/comp time:
*Congrats to Kevin Hatcher, who will be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, where he will join fellow Caps alumni Bobby Carpenter, Dave Christian, Phil Housley, Rod Langway and Craig Patrick.
A three time all-star with the Caps, Hatcher played 17 seasons in the NHL and also suited up for the Stars, Pens, Rangers and 'Canes. But he had his best seasons in Washington. He ranks third among Caps' defensemen with 426 points (behind Calle Johansson's 474 and Scott Stevens's 429) and owns the record for goals by a defenseman in a season with 34 and a career with 149. (Mike Green, in case you're wondering, is up to 71 career goals and 220 points in four plus seasons).
Jeremy Roenick and Kevin's brother Derian are also in the 2010 class.
*Next Tuesday, the NHL will host a 2011 Winter Classic news conference at Heinz Field. Gary Bettman will be there from the league; GM Ray Shero, Sidney Crosby, Max Talbot and Pascal Dupuis will represent the Pens; and GM George McPhee, President Dick Patrick, Mike Knuble and David Steckel will be there from the Caps.
It's never too early to start building up hype for the game, I guess.
*The Caps, Verizon Wireless and the NHL donated equipment this week to wounded veterans. Check out the story here.
If nothing happens with Kovalchuk, enjoy your weekend everyone.
July 23, 2010; 1:55 PM ET
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