Report: NHL rejects Ilya Kovalchuk's front-loaded contract

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laughingdevils.jpgApparently “Loophole Lou” might have gotten in the way of the loophole-manipulating contract that Ilya Kovalchuk signed with his New Jersey Devils.

An AP report indicates that the NHL rejected the 17-year, $102 million contract the Russian winger was offered to stay in Newark. Keep in mind this isn’t quite “official” just yet, but it wouldn’t be shocking if the deal upset many in the league offices. Here’s more from that story.

Speaking on condition of anonymity because the NHL has not announced the decision to void the deal, the person tells The Associated Press on Tuesday night that Kovalchuk’s contract is illegal because the years of low salary at the end of the contract were added for the sole purpose of lowering the cap hit.

The person added that no side believes Kovalchuk will play the final years of the deal at the low salary numbers that were agreed to in the deal. The star forward was slated to earn only $550,000 in each of the last five seasons of the contract.

While this might just come down to the Devils making the deal a bit more “honest” (as in, spreading the money out more evenly), it’s still an interesting put-your-foot-down moment for a league that did little more than “investigate” dubious contracts in the past.

We’ll update this story as it goes along, but for some background on why this might have happened, here are a few links on the Kovalchuk contract.

Kovalchuk’s deal by the numbers, which will show just how absurd the final years of the deal really are.

Our story on the Kovalchuk press conference, which includes some commentary from Lamoriello that might have spelled (temporary?) doom for the contract.

Want to see some highlights of the press conference itself? Click here.

Despite tough fight, Stars hand Wild their sixth straight loss

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The Minnesota Wild put together the kind of effort that would beat a lot of NHL teams on Tuesday. Unfortunately for that beleaguered group, it wasn’t enough to edge the Dallas Stars.

Despite generating 40 shots on goal and generating 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the Wild lost to the Stars 4-3 in overtime. With that, they’ve lost six straight games.

(The view doesn’t get much prettier if you pull away a little further, either, as Minnesota’s only won once in the last month, going 1-9-2 in their last 12.)

Ultimately, the Stars’ big guns were too powerful. Tyler Seguin generated two assists and so did Jamie Benn, who set up John Klingberg‘s overtime game-winning goal.

Again, the effort sure seemed to be there for the Wild, even if they’re far beyond the point of accepting moral victories.

As frustrating as this must be, Minnesota’s not that far from a playoff spot. Still, it has to sting to see “Close, but not good enough” as a prevailing theme as of late.

Royal beating: Lucic, Kings crush Bruins 9-2

As Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) looks on Los Angeles Kings' Milan Lucic waves to the crowd after a tribute to him was played on the screen during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.

You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.

Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.

Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.

This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.

Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic

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The Florida Panthers are beating up the Buffalo Sabres where it counts – on the scoreboard – but Evander Kane was happy to highlight his perceived victories in a couple bouts.

Buffalo’s power forward fought Alex Petrovic twice on Tuesday, and Kane wasn’t shy about holding up a “2-0.”

You can watch the second fight above, and the first one below, via Hockey Fights by way of MSG:

This GIF might just say it all, really:

Update: Apparently they fought again moments after this post went up.

Probably safe to call it a rivalry between the two, right?

The Panthers ultimately won 7-4.

Fight video: Yes, a visor-breaking punch

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Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.

Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”

Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.

Want it in GIF form? OK then: