Devils GM Lou Lamoriello himself expressed doubts about the deal’s legitimacy to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record after the press conference to introduce Kovalchuk in Newark today:
I asked Lamoriello what he would think if someone brought up Kovalchuk’s contract in the next round of CBA negotiations (in two years) and pointed to it as a flaw.
“I might agree,” he said. “But there is nothing that we have done wrong. This is within the rules. This is in the CBA. There are precedents that have been set. But I would agree we shouldn’t have these. But I’m also saying that because it’s legal and this is something that ownership felt comfortable doing for the right reasons.”
It was clear that ownership-headed by Jeff Vanderbeek-was behind this particular contract. Not that Lamoriello didn’t endorse bringing Kovalchuk back.
Lamoriello denied comments to Gulitti, while Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek said he wasn’t aware the deal had been rejected. We’ll keep you posted on this as the evening continues.