Ilya Kovalchuk's rejected contract: So what happens next?


Thumbnail image for ilyakovalchuk6.jpgBy this time, you should probably be aware that the NHL reportedly rejected Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year, $102 million deal with the Devils. (If not, read about it here. I’ll wait. *crosses arms, looks at watch*)

While the league hasn’t made an official announcement on it yet, it seems like the Kovalchuk saga will continue yet again. I’m not sure if it should be compared to a seemingly invulnerable slasher movie killer like Freddy Krueger or something a bit more benign like a “Terminator” T-1000. Whichever lazy movie reference you’d like to attach to the situation, it’s obvious that the drama/agony is far from over.

Many on Twitter and other venues are asking: what’s next?

Though I tend to write about salary cap scenarios quite frequently, I’m no expert on the ins-and-outs of contract rejections/grievances so here are a few “expert” accounts of what should come next via Twitter. (I’d recommend following CapGeek’s Tweets in particular. If all the details don’t turn your brain to tapioca pudding, that is.)

First, here’s a quick take from Nick Kypreos.

PA has 5 days to file grievance. Then league/PA must find independent arbitrator that’s mutually agreed upon. Root canal sounds more fun!

TSN’s James Duthie explains the consequences of a potential arbitration.

If grieved, arbitration is binding. If arb. rules in favour of NHL, he is supposed to fix deal so it “conforms to the requirements” of CBA.

(Darren Dreger added that the deal would be “dead” if the NHL player’s association filed a grievance “until an arbitrator decides otherwise.”)

John Shannon reports that the contract could either be changed or a grievance could be filed within five days. Cap Geek says that a resolution could be reached within three days in a best case scenario while the worst case scenario would see the deal settled within 15 days. (Ugh.)

Kyle “Spector” Richardson provides a broader explanation of the next possible steps.

So now it’s up to either the Devils to restructure & re-file the contract or the PA to grieve it on Kovalchuk’s behalf.

Again, it’s important to note that the NHL hasn’t made an official announcement on the deal being rejected, although that might be a formality at this point. Who knows? This might just be a lot of mildly entertaining banter over a technicality or two, but the two sides could indeed go through an ugly and rare arbitration process. We’ll keep you up to date with everything from the rumors to the solid facts as this situation goes along.

My guess is that Gary Bettman and Lou Lamoriello might not be getting Christmas cards from each other this December, though.

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
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If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning


Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.