In what came as a surprise - but not a total shock - arbitrator Richard Bloch denied the NHLPA's grievance over the NHL's rejection of the Ilya Kovalchuk contract. Until the arbitrator's written statement is made public, one can only speculate over why he sided with the NHL in this case, since there's nothing in the CBA that was explicitly circumvented. Odds are the vague circumventing the 'spirit' of the cap wording in the next to worthless document which ended the lockout in 2005 played a big factor.
Words cannot describe how much I hate this league right now. It is Knicks fans towards Jim Dolan for hiring Isiah Thomas type hatred, or Mets fans hatred for Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo. Not to mention Jet fans hatred for Bill Belichick. You just know if the Penguins or Maple Leafs had worked out this deal they would have let it slide without a peep. Of course since it's the Devils what happened three weeks ago happened, leading to this decision which came down less than an hour ago - predictably a half hour after the 5 PM deadline.
So what's next is anyone's guess, since this entire situation is unprecedented in the history of the league. All we know now is that Kovalchuk is again a UFA and is currently in Russia taking a trip he had to postpone last week because of the two-day hearing which will live in infamy. If you want to say it's good for the league that teams can't sign twenty and twenty-five year deals now fine by me, just don't try to tell me that if Kovalchuk leaves for LA, the KHL or re-signs with the Devils at a higher cap hit that leads to us making a move we wouldn't have had to otherwise. Especially since the NHL can write its own rules on the fly now where they didn't exist before.
If I'm not around next week or the week after it's because I've officially gone crazy over the five weeks and counting of this saga. I may have to be locked in a strait jacket any minute, because having to wait even longer to find out how this unfolds is just going to be utter torture. Especially with my baseball season going up in smoke yet again and my football season hinging on the holdout of one greedy player. All I have to say is if we do wind up with Kovy when it's all said and done, he'd better prove to be worth this much trouble.