OK, now that we are finally underway with the Ilya Kovalchuk hearing here are some misconceptions:
Since it’s a 48-hour arbitration hearing, the judge will come up with an answer on Friday.
Not exactly. The 48-hour arbitration hearing is a chance for both sides to lay out their reasons for why they think they are right. The NHLPA will obviously argue that the Kovalchuk contract should not have been rejected, while Bettman and the NHL will argue that it breached the terms of the current CBA.
Once all of that is finished, the arbitrator will take the information and make an executive decision. That DOES NOT mean that the decision will come on Friday. It could come right at the end of the hearing, but that doesn't mean that it's likely. In fact, the wait from the end of the hearing to when an official decision is made could be a few days.
Expectations are that we will know by Monday, although there are a few speculations that we will know earlier than that. Either way, this isn’t over on Friday … probably.
Does Kovlachuk have to appear at the hearing?
No he does not. He can show up if he wants to, but at the end of the day he really isn’t needed. He is well represented by the NHLPA, and he brings nothing to the table that the NHLPA would need.
Yes, this case is all about his contract, but it’s not about him. And as a result, he does not need to be there.
Does anyone get in trouble at the end of all of this?
Not really. if the NHL wins then the Devils can be fined up to $5 million, according to Tom Gulitti.
If the NHLPA wins then the NHL has to register and approve the deal. Obviously the NHL doesn’t want this, so I suppose that’s their punishment.
What happens if the NHLPA wins?
If the NHLPA wins then the NHL’s decision to reject Kovalchuk’s contract is overturned. Thus, he will officially start his 17-year $102 million contract. If the NHLPA wins, then this saga is officially over.
What happens if the NHL wins?
If the NHL wins then the NHL’s decision to reject Kovalchuk’s contract is upheld. This would mean that Kovalchuk is once again a free agent, and is free to negotiate with other teams; or to re-structure his contract with the Devils.
No matter what, this will all come to an end once the arbitrator makes his ruling.
Not exactly. If the NHLPA wins, then this saga (finally) comes to an end. But if the NHL wins, then Kovalchuk is a free agent again, and we start this entire process all over again from square one.
Well that’s what you guys have to know! Hope it helps.