Two more Kovalchuk bits: Does the NHL have a case and will the Kings try again?

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Thumbnail image for kovalchuktalkagain.jpgSo, it appears that the NHL rejected the Ilya Kovalchuk contract. I discussed what might happen next, but there are two other mini-stories of moderate interest.

Adrian Dater states that if the contract would go through the arbitration process, the league wouldn’t have much of a case against the Devils’ deal.

Indeed, at first glance it seems like the league has a wobbly case to have this hold up in court. Marian Hossa’s 12-year, $62.8 million deal with Chicago was approved last summer – and Hossa is slated to make $1 million, $1 million, $750,000 and $750,000 in the final four years of that deal. It’s no more believable that Hossa will play those final four years at that money than it is Kovalchuk would play the final seven years of his deal, at a total of $7 million.

So, based on Hossa’s deal alone, I can’t imagine an arbitrator siding with the league in the Kovalchuk case.

Dater writes that the situation probably won’t go that far, anyway, as the Devils could cut off a year or two and take a higher cap hit to appease the NHL. I must agree with that account, but it’s still worthwhile to explore the possible ins and outs.

The most “out there” possibility would involve the Kovy-spurned Kings getting back in the swing of things. Still, Rich Hammond asked the team if they’d get back into the mix in the far-fetched scenario that Kovalchuk became an unrestricted free agent again.

Dean Lombardi said tonight that the Kings would remain interested in signing Kovalchuk should the opportunity present itself, but it’s likely that the union will get involved and seek to uphold the deal.

OK, that’s all the Kovalcuk fun for tonight. We’ll keep an eye on things tomorrow, especially if the league makes an official statement regarding the rejection (or, dare I say, the lack thereof?).

Already without Eberle, the Oilers could also be missing Hall tonight

Taylor Hall
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Taylor Hall is sick and reportedly “doubtful” for tonight’s game in Dallas.

Hall did not skate with the Oilers this morning. If he can’t play, Edmonton’s top two lines against the Stars could feature Ryan Nugent-Hopkins between wingers Teddy Purcell and Benoit Pouliot, followed by Connor McDavid centering Lauri Korpikoski and Nail Yakupov.

The Oilers — forced to start the season without top-six winger Jordan Eberle — have scored just once in their first two games, losing 3-1 in St. Louis and 2-0 in Nashville.

Edmonton returns home after tonight’s contest to play St. Louis on Thursday. Then it’s back out on the road for games against Calgary and Vancouver.

Sabres waive d-man Donovan

HKN Sabres Senators
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Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.

Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.

The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.

The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.