The NHLPA officially files a grievance on Ilya Kovalchuk's behalf

Thumbnail image for ilyakovalchuk6.jpgTo little surprise, the NHL Players Association did indeed file a grievance on Ilya Kovalchuk’s behalf today. Here’s the NHLPA’s statement via TSN.

“The NHLPA has filed a grievance disputing the NHL’s rejection of the Standard Player Contract between the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk. Under the terms of the CBA, the NHLPA and Mr. Kovalchuk are entitled to an expedited resolution of this matter. The NHLPA will have no further comment until this matter has been resolved by an Arbitrator.”

Need a refresher on the possible twists and turns this already muddled saga can take? Let me update the scenarios I discussed a little earlier today.

The next step is that the NHLPA and the league must agree on an independent arbitrator, a process some expect to take weeks. Once that is finally settled upon, the arbitrator has two days (48 hours) to rule on the validity of the contract.

After that, there are two things that could happen.

1. The arbitrator upholds the rejection – Kovalchuk would become an unrestricted free agent again, giving him the choice of restructuring his contract with the Devils or going with a different team. Both the Kings and – according to Gulitti – the KHL have expressed interest in Kovalchuk if he went back on the market.

2. The arbitrator validates the contract – the league would be forced to approve the contract right away.

So who knows how long this process will take? If the NHL wants to really punish Kovalchuk & Co. in a “spouse giving you the silent treatment” type passive-aggressive way, they can drag out the decision to find an arbitrator. Let’s hope that the Bettman’s crew decides to go the professional route or this might begin to resemble a slap-fight.

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    Video: Weise records Gordie Howe hat trick after spirited scrap with Hamonic

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    Thursday’s game between the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers wasn’t even nine minutes old by the time Dale Weise had recorded the Gordie Howe hat trick.

    Already with the opening goal and an assist on Radko Gudas‘ goal, giving Philly a 3-0 lead, Weise dropped the gloves with Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic for a spirited fight off a faceoff.

    Not many, if any, positives for the Islanders after a disastrous start. Needing a win to close the gap on the Boston Bruins in the wild card race, New York fell behind 5-0 by the time the first period was over.

    There is perhaps even more bad news for the Islanders: Hamonic wasn’t on the bench to begin the second period.

    The Islanders have since provided an update: Hamonic will not return to this game due to an upper-body injury.

     

     

    The Islanders are off to a disastrous start in Philly, Flyers chase Greiss

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    Talk about the worst possible start for the New York Islanders.

    Trailing the Boston Bruins by four points for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, the Islanders lived through a nightmare to begin Thursday’s game, falling behind the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 4-0 — before the midway point of the first period.

    Dale Weise started the scoring at 4:30 of the first period. By the 9:19 mark, the Flyers opened up a four-goal lead and had already chased Islanders starting goalieThomas Greiss, who allowed three goals on eight shots.

    Jaroslav Halak was brought into the game and promptly surrendered a goal to Jordan Weal.

    It continued to get worse for the Islanders, who finished the first period trailing by five goals. Shots? They were 19-10 in favor of Philly. Yup. It was bad.

    With Josh Ho-Sang in the box serving a double-minor for high sticking, Wayne Simmonds gave Philly a 5-0 lead with his 30th goal of the year.

    Shaping up to be a long night for the Islanders.

    Karlsson’s ironman streak comes to an end as Sens visit Wild

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    For the first time since the lockout-shortened season, the Ottawa Senators will not have star defenseman Erik Karlsson in their lineup.

    With the Sens four points back of Montreal for the Atlantic Division lead, Karlsson will not play tonight versus the Minnesota Wild, which ends his ironman streak at 324 consecutive games played.

    Karlsson trails Brent Burns by only five points for the lead in that category among NHL defenseman. He also logs close to 27 minutes of ice time per game. Only three blue liners in the entire league — Dustin Byfuglien, Drew Doughty and Ryan Suter — play more on average per game.

    The injury reportedly occurred when Karlsson blocked a shot against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. Trade deadline acquisition Jyrki Jokipakka is expected to make his debut for Ottawa, per the Citizen.

    “If we miss him for a game or two, we’re not sure what’s going to happen,” forward Mark Stone told the Ottawa Citizen. “He’s the best defenceman in the world. If you take him out of your lineup, it’s obviously a huge blow.”

    WATCH LIVE: Stars at Bruins

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    The Boston Bruins hold the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and they will look to continue their push for the playoffs when they host the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

    You can catch the game on NBCSN (7:30 p.m. ET) or online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

    McAvoy has the talent to improve Bruins right now

    NHL on NBCSN: Bruins continue push for playoff spot against Stars

    Stars go deeper than rock bottom in Ruff’s ‘worst game’ with team