It's On: NHLPA Files Grievance on Behalf of Kovalchuk

League and PA Now Need to Hire Arbitrator to Judge Case

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NHLPA Files Grievance on Kovalchuk's Behalf

The case is on, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. The NHLPA has filed a grievance on behalf of Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk, whose 17-year, $102-million contract was rejected last week by the NHL.

Now the league and player's association must decide on an arbiter, who will then have 48 hours to rule whether Kovy’s contract is legal or not. Stay tuned.

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More On Kovalchuk Deal Rejection

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.

Tom Gulitti on Twitter says the following:

They’re saying it’s for salary cap circumvention, but I wonder if it has anything to do with a “lockout protection” bonus in 2012-13.

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Report: Kovalchuk Contract 17 Years, $102 Million

Here’s Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov with the details:

Kovalchuk $102m over 17 years. $10m per year for the first 8 years. $7.5 for the next 2, from what I heard.

That would make the contract for $95 million over the first 10 years, and $7 million over the final seven. Its a fairly obvious sham, but whatever, says this Devils fan! I’ll have more later.

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Kovalchuk Re-Signs With New Jersey Devils

In a surprise move, the New Jersey Devils managed to re-sign the superstar winger to a contract.

Although contract details have not yet been announced TSN is reporting the deal to be done.

It looks like Ilya Kovalchuk is staying in New Jersey.

According to the team’s official Twitter account, the winger has signed a contract and will have a press conference to announce the deal on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Kovalchuk’s agent Jay Grossman said on Twitter: “Ilya Kovalchuk will make his decision today (for sure, this time!)”.

While we don’t know the terms yet, one would have to imagine that it is at least an $8 million-dollar deal. The love affair between Lou Lamoriello and Kovalchuck never seemed to end, and Lamorilello was always confident that he could get the winger under contract. Now the Devils have some cap space issues that they have to work out, but for now they have to be feeling pretty good about themselves.

We will have more for you here when it breaks. Until then check out In Lou We Trust for more on the situation.

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Report: Kovalchuk Close To Signing With LA Kings

The New York Post is reporting that Ilya Kovalchuk is close to signing with the Los Angeles Kings.

From that New York Post article:

Free agent Ilya Kovalchuk is close to signing a contract with the Los Angeles Kings, Sportsnet Canada reports.

Analyst Nick Kypreos wrote on Twitter, “A big swing in the Ilya/Kings talks. Major stumbling blocks have been rectified. A source now described it to me as ‘close but not done.’”

Kovalchuk visited the Kings earlier this week but left without a deal, which kept the Devils in the running to re-sign the left wing.

Honestly, I can’t say that I am surprised if this does happen, but please take this news with a grain of salt. The Kovalchuk sweepstakes have gotten so out of control that you really can’t believe anything that you hear until it is finished.

Regardless, the expectations are that the Kings were going to land Kovalchuk, and this seems to point in that direction.

Kovalchuk would add some heavy artillery to the Kings, and make them a sexy pick for next year's Cup contenders. In joining the Kings he would also leave the Devils wondering what more they could have done to nab the superstar winger.

More when anything becomes official.

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It's Russia or the Devil: Kings Bow Out of Kovy Race Again

According to Hockey Hall of Famer Helene Elliott of the LA Times:

The Kings have again said no to signing free agent Ilya Kovalchuk, this time appearing to close the door and lock it behind them.

General Manager Dean Lombardi ended his initial pursuit of the two-time 50-goal scorer Sunday but was “re-engaged” by Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman. After crunching the numbers of a proposal sent Wednesday by Grossman, the Kings calculated they couldn’t sign Kovalchuk and have salary cap space to retain the young players who are becoming the franchise’s cornerstones.

“We really would love to add Kovi to our team, but not at the cost of our good young players,” Tim Leiweke, the Kings’ governor and chief executive of parent company AEG, said Wednesday night. “Dean is trying here, but we know what we need in cap space going forward to keep our nucleus together. We can’t let one guy throw us into panic in a year or two. It is not about cash. It is about cap.”

This leaves Kovalchuk and his agent, Jay Grossman, with either A. Sign with the Devils at whatever offer Lou Lamoriello has on the table, B. Sign with a mystery team that hasn’t come up in the reports yet, C. Go home to Russia and bathe in gold krugerrands. The choice is his alone to make.

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Agent: No Decision By Kovalchuk Tonight

After a long day, we aren’t any closer to finding out where Ilya Kovalchuk will end up.

Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman, announced it to the world on Twitter:

Ilya Kovalchuk choices have been narrowed down, details to be finalized but no announcement tonight.

Hopefully there will be some news tomorrow.

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