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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.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  July 23, 2010; 1:55 PM ET
 
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Next: Tom Poti set for training camp after scary injury

Comments

It's good to see the Caps sending their star power to the winter classic news conference....Crosby on one side across from Steckel...HA..

Like it matters I know, but still entertaining.

Posted by: rdiehljr | July 23, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping to enjoy my weekend even if something does happen with Kovalchuk!

Posted by: yosemite_sam | July 23, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I like sending Knuble and Steckel. Let everyone know that we're more then Ovechkin. Save our superstars for when the Winter Classic is here in a few years.

Posted by: patmanbnl | July 23, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

yeah i know thats how the bonuses have worked. This year I think its back to not being able to roll them over to next year. Ill find out.

Posted by: ThePat | July 23, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Well, these "experts" SAY that there's no leg to stand on...BUT, if that's true, why did the Kings in their 15-year/$80M offer to Grossman at least TRY to construct numbers that would pass some sanity check. From Helene Elliot in the LA Times, the last few years of the Kings' offer was based on actual money paid to Selanne at age 38 and Yzerman at 40 in his last deal.

If you poll all six billion on Earth, maybe only a dozen or two really think that Kovy will play those last five years at min salary. Sure he'll play. As a 4th line mucker.

There's the "letter of the law" and the "spirit of the law." I understand that. And even though there are a few extremely rare examples of players playing at age 44 (like one hundreth of one percent of all players) - Gordie Howe and Chelios, to name a few, were still making good money (Chelios took $600K then I think at 46). Kovy's min salary would start at 38 or 39 - absurd. Guys (Knuble) are still making a fair wage then.

If Kovy had taken the Kings deal, you could say, "Fair enough." The NJ contract is nothing but a lie and a cheat and everyone knows it except the lawyers who could make money fighting it. This has nothing to do with length of contract and everything to do with an absurdly low salary for five years that was only constructed as a means of circumventing the cap.

How bout we let the contract stand and then the league fines the Devils five first round picks for "conduct detrimental to the sport." The commissioner has within his purview all kinds of options that don't necesarily require a leg to stand on (not all punishments can be taken to arbitration, like when Stern fines Mark Cuban I believe). Bettman could suspend Lamiorello, for instance, if he wanted to.

As they say, if it looks like a rat, smells like a rat and tastes like a rat, then you shouldn't have eaten it.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 23, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

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).

----------------------------------

i love how "points" is the all-defining characteristic. Its like when someone doesn't know enough about a player, they go running to look at how many points they scored as some kind of affirmation. Put it this way, even if Hatcher's highest point totals came in a different uniform, his best seasons were still in Washington. Because at the tail end of his Caps tenure and on every team after that, he became a floater.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 23, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

tominsocal1 | July 23, 2010 3:37 PM wrote:

"The NJ contract is nothing but a lie and a cheat and everyone knows it except the lawyers who could make money fighting it."

==========

You are completely correct. Unfortunately, those are the only people who mean anything when it comes down to it.

Posted by: pga6 | July 23, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

(Chelios took $600K then I think at 46). Kovy's min salary would start at 38 or 39 - absurd.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 23, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Can we guarantee that when Kovy is 40 that the minimum league salary will still be less than what this contract will pay? No.

The Players association hopes the minimum will be higher than $550K by then so even they probably dont like this deal - and they especially wont want Kovy to play those years because it will mean $5.5 million will be out of circulation for those years. If Kovy plays someone will have a $6 million cap hit but only be allowed to pay 1/12th of it in real money.

Players wouldn't like that scenario.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | July 23, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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