Well, maybe the contract was as absurd as it sounded. It appears as though the NHL has rejected Ilya Kovalchuk's 17-year, $102 million dollar deal with the New Jersey Devils.
They say the contract is a work-around the NHL's salary cap.
The contract was pretty frontloaded, the 1st 10-years were for $95 million and then $1 million more for each of the last seven years.
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((Oh Kovy...You Devil!//Courtesy: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images))
We honestly have no idea what this means. It could mean everyone is starting over from scratch or it could just mean they need to re-word it. Either way...a very interesting development.
2220 UPDATE: All the HQ has to say is that they better look at every other long-term contract out there, because his isn't the first and it won't be the last.
It's just the one that thumbs its nose at the salary cap the most... and most recently...
The deal can be restructured and re-filed...
Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos, via his Twitter feed, says "NHL deems Kovy contract "a retirement contract". Says it "artificially drops cap hit". Also states its too overloaded the first 10 yrs..."
TSN's Darren Dreger, via his Twitter feed, says something we all saw with this particular elephant in the room:
Kovy's deal was rejected because the NHL doesn't believe either the player or the Devils expected he would be playing near end of deal.
Kovy rejection was based on what may be a classic case of an artificial lowering of the AAV. They can refile, or the PA can grieve...
If a grievance is to be filed, the NHLPA has to do it within the next five days. The contract is dead until an arbitor decides the end result... which will, probably, head for some kind of appeals process after that.
2310 UPDATE: OSG Sports asked TSN's James Duthie about any kind of appeals process. His answer is that arbitration in this kind of a case is binding, and that if the NHL won the case, the contract would have to be adjusted to "conform to the requirements of the CBA."
The issue, once again, with the Kovalchuk deal is... well, it just looks funny. That, for all intents and purposes, is the league's defense. There isn't anything written in the CBA that says what the Devils ((or, for that matter, what the Blackhawks with Marian Hossa)) is in violation of the CBA, but the league thinks that the deal just "looks funny."
Technically, the Devils can come back with a Chris Chelios-based defense if anyone is squawking about paying a 44-year-old Kovalchuk anything in the 17th year of the deal.
Duthie and his Twitter feed are here.