THE NHL’S CHOICES ON THE KOVALCHUK CONTRACT ARE YES, NO AND THE ELUSIVE MAYBE
I have read analysis and some speculation on whether the NHL will reject or accept the recently resubmitted Kovalchuk contract rumored to be 15 years and 100 million, for a devilish cap hit of $6,666,666.00. A little creepy.
Bettman and Daly’s options however are not limited to yes or no. Recall that with the Hossa, Pronger, Luongo and Savard contracts, the NHL accepted the submittal but sent a letter informing the club that it was investigating the agreement for potential cap circumvention. This issue was relatively unknown until the Kovalchuk rejection when Bill Daly confirmed this fact and, since then, the league has done a lot of nothing. So, who is to say that the NHL won’t do exactly the same thing again? Training camp and pre-season are right around the corner. Assuming the tail end of this 15 year deal isn’t of the same comedic variety as the league minimum for its trailing years and aggregates at least $6 to $8 million in its final years, the league may just opt to respond with a maybe, right?
It would be an easy way out.
It would be convenient.
It would put this issue to rest for the immediate future.
It would give New Jersey fans time to step away from the ledge.
It also would not make any sense. If the league did this, none of its explanations would suffice. It doesn’t need time to investigate the deal. It has invested no doubt hundreds of hours on the last contract and we have a clear precedent setting decision and analysis in Richard Bloch’s ruling. The lines have been drawn. Ilya Kovalchuk has given his deadline. The NHL has its 5 day mark. Nothing comes from delay other than delay for the sake of delay and to let this issue fester so that it is more ripe for discussion and available for leverage at the next CBA…oh oh…maybe…