Finally, there will be a conclusion to this mess. We just won't know it until Monday. For Ilya Kovalchuk and the Devils, arbitrator Richard Bloch will render a decision on the catastrophic 17-year, $102 million contract the 27 year-old electrifying Russian star signed back on July 19. Here's the long and short of it via NHL.com's Dan Rosen:
Bloch has until the end of business Monday to rule on whether the NHL was justified in rejecting the 17-year, $102 million contract Kovalchuk signed with the Devils last month. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly stated at the time the NHL rejected the contract that it was doing so because the deal circumvents the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
If Bloch rules that the NHL was within its legal right to reject Kovalchuk's contract, the Russian sniper immediately returns to unrestricted free agent status. If Bloch rules that the NHL unjustly rejected the contract and it is indeed valid under terms of the CBA then the League must immediately approve the contract.
Pretty cut and dry. It would be astronomical if Bloch ruled for the NHL, creating a firestorm as they near the end of a CBA in which the same league approved similar long-term deals as was cited in our previous post yesterday. What ever way they rule, one side is going to be awfully steamed, which probably won't bode well for the future.