We’ve covered most of the theories, options and details of the Ilya Kovalchuk contract rejection, but it appears that there are a few more tidbits floating around.
Lyle “Spector” Richardson had a roundup of some of the Kovalchuk news today. There are two items that caught my eye.
Here is the first one, told by Richardson via Mark Everson of the New York Post:
Mark Everson reports the Devils went ahead with the press conference formally announcing their signing of Ilya Kovalchuk even though they knew the deal would be rejected in order to “seal their position and set in motion the chain of events which will likely lead to arbitration”, which could force the league to accept the deal. It also doesn’t seem likely that circumvention penalties will be levied against Kovalchuk or the Devils. The PA has five business days, starting yesterday, to file a grievance.
Richardson adds that it’s unlikely that Lamoriello will re-work the contract at this point, leaving it to Kovalchuk and the NHL Players Association.
One thing that’s surfaced is that the league doesn’t appear to have an arbiter selected right now. That could make this drag on for weeks, according to sources including Richardson.
It’s been suggested the fact there’s currently no arbiter in place to hear this case could tie things up for weeks which could force Kovalchuk and the Devils to either rework the deal or force him back into the UFA market. That’s possible but we won’t know for sure how long it’ll take to get an arbiter in place and to arrange a date for a hearing. Kovalchuk, Lamoriello and the PA might be willing to go that route and be patient if they’re confident of winning this one. For now, we wait and see how this unfolds.
Although it’s been noted that the Los Angeles Kings may be interested in re-entering the Kovalchuk sweepstakes, I think they’d be better off going in a different direction. Chances are, they won’t have much of a choice.