Source: Kovalchuk contract grievance saga to be settled next week

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Thumbnail image for kovalchukpresser3.jpgWhile we haven’t been talking much lately about the Ilya Kovalchuk contract grievance between the NHL and the NHLPA, there are things that need to be settled and if what Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice says has found is correct, we might see a solution to things next week.

A source said this afternoon that a system arbitrator has been ageed upon by the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association to rule on the grievance over Ilya Kovalchuk’s rejected, 17-year, $102 million contract.

A hearing has been scheduled, but the source would not reveal the identity of the arbitrator or the date, time and site of the hearing. It’s possible it will be in a city other than New York or Toronto. I will continue to try to find out those important details and will post an update if successful.

The sides had to agree upon the site and date/time of the hearing as well and appear intent on keeping it low profile.

The source did say that the objective is for the matter to be settled by the end of next week, though. So, you can probably guess that the hearing will take place early next week–possibly Monday or Tuesday.

The hearing is expected to take two days and a ruling would be due within 48 hours of its conclusion.

If this turns out to be true, chalk one up for both the NHL and the NHLPA for getting some of their differences put aside so that they could get a systems arbitrator in place and get this situation taken care of one way or another. Of course, that could turn out to be the only thing they end up agreeing on through this whole mess.  Should the arbitrator reject the contract, Kovalchuk is then once again a free agent and then it’s back to square one for everyone involved once again.

That isn’t to say that teams would come out of the woodwork to try and get Kovalchuk again, as it was it was between just the Devils and Kings for his services and while Dean Lombardi has said that the Kings would still be interested in him, it’s rather unfathomable to think that Kovalchuk won’t still end up in New Jersey. Then again, given how much insane stuff has already gone on through this entire saga, I wouldn’t bet against anything at this point.

Report: Coyotes shut down Vitale (concussion) for the season

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Joe Vitale will not play again this season.

The Arizona Coyotes have shut Vitale down for the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign due to “concussion-related issues,” according to a report from Sarah McLellan of azcentral sports on Wednesday.

Vitale, a 30-year-old veteran center, appeared in only one game for the Coyotes this season. That was back on Oct. 17, when he suffered a concussion and broken orbital bone in a fight with Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins.

Sens announce Frattin, acquired in Phaneuf deal, will stick with AHL Marlies

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Matt Frattin was traded by the Leafs to Ottawa yesterday as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.

But for now, he’s staying in Toronto.

On Wednesday, Sens GM Bryan Murray announced that Frattin will remain with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate — the Toronto Marlies — on loan, but will be available for selection should Ottawa require his services down the road.

Frattin, 28, has spent all of this season with the Marlies, scoring nine goals and 22 points in 47 games. His last NHL appearance came during the ’14-15 campaign, with the Leafs.

Prior to that, the former North Dakota standout had spent time in Los Angeles and Columbus.

 

Gaudreau, Monahan, Bouma express remorse after benching

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One day after getting benched for showing up late for practice — following an “epic” Super Bowl party, per Sportsnet — Calgary forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Lance Bouma apologized for their actions.

“We want to apologize to the organization, the coaches, our team especially, and the city of Calgary and the fans,” Gaudreau said, per the team’s Twitter account. “For us not to show up like that, and miss a game like that, it’s not professional on our part.”

“I’m a young guy and I’m a leader on this team,” Monahan added. “I’ve got to step up and take that back and earn that respect again.”

More on what transpired at Tuesday’s practice, from Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:

Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley did his best to keep an epic Super Bowl party under wraps. But two of his players — Lance Bouma and Sean Monahan — arrived at the Saddledome at 10:15 am for a 10:30 Monday morning practice, and those two barely beat Johnny Gaudreau in the Saddledome doors.

Then practice started, and in the words of Calgary winger David Jones: “It’s a little embarrassing when we’re not (making) five-foot passes.”

“I think (Hartley) was pretty pissed off.”

The trio was then subsequently benched for last night’s game against Toronto, which the Flames won 4-3.

Afterward, Hartley downplayed the incident, saying “it’s not like they robbed a bank,” before adding “they’re great kids.”

WATCH LIVE: Rangers at Penguins on Rivalry Night

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Three
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Tonight, the New York Rangers are in Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins at Consol, in a rematch of the ’14 and ’15 playoffs (the Blueshirts eliminated the Pens from each of the last two postseasons, you’ll recall.)

You can catch the game at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, or watch live online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Some relevant linkage for tonight’s tilt:

NHL on NBCSN: Rangers, Penguins renew acquaintances on Rivalry Night

Rangers ‘are doing a lot of good things’

‘I wonder if that’s Crosby, what happens?’ — AV upset after McDonagh concussed by Simmonds

Malkin (lower body) to miss rest of week

Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week