Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Kovalchuk hearing begins among crickets
The fate of Ilya Kovalchuk still isn't known. On Day One in Beantown of the hearing between the Devils and a cynical league that was minus Gary Bettman, who opted instead to attend a conference call for the second Hockey Heritage Classic between host Calgary and visitor Montreal, nothing has been decided just yet. In fact, crickets wouldn't be able to tell you what happened today.
So, it looks like those hoping for a quick result to this chaos will have to wait until the end of the week before the 17 year, $102 million contract the Devils and Kovalchuk agreed upon is ruled on. In the mean time, the 27 year-old Russian who'll turn 44 in his final year would earn $98.5 million the first 11 seasons before his salary decreases to an average cap hit of $550,000 the final five years after $750 K in 2021-22.
Honestly, the way this astronomical contract is set up, it's enough to make your head spin from East to West a la Rocky when he meets Ivan Drago in Rocky V at Moscow. Of course, the KHL is rooting for the contract to be rejected so they can scoop up one of their own. However, even if it gets rejected, the feeling is Kovalchuk and Lou Lamoriello will work something out and he'll stay put in the NHL regardless of another threat of a lockout.
Even if the Devil architect who knew ways around a cap he helped write, there's technically nothing wrong with what he did. In the past, other teams have done the same thing with star players (ie Islanders-DiPietro, Flyers-Richards, Pronger, Red Wings-Zetterberg, Franzen, Blackhawks-Hossa, Canucks-Luongo, Capitals-Ovechkin). Should New Jersey really be penalized for taking advantage of the same rules other clubs have? Why? Because the CBA is about to expire and the league and its minyons are furious with these sorta outlandish contracts??? Hey. The cap was supposed to solve everything. Remember? If players want security and GMs and owners agree that they're worth it, who are we to disagree?
Besides. Is there a worse contract than the one Glen Sather handed out to Wade Redden with Chris Drury right behind? Maybe they should investigate the Ranger GM for robbing his own fans blind along with Dolan. If only that were true.
If the arbitrator has any sense of purpose, they'll rule in favor of Kovalchuk and the Devils, leaving collective egg on the faces of Bettman and Co. Here's hoping the right decision is made.