Arbitrator Richard Bloch, now the most infamous man in New Jersey and the NHLPA, issued his own statement outlining his decision siding with the NHL against the NHLPA over Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract, voiding the deal.
In Bloch’s statement, the arbitrator says the Kovalchuk deal “is a retirement contract” and that it goes “well beyond the typical retirement age for NHL players.”
Until a full outline of the hearing and result gets released, if ever, we’ll be picking apart these words as to how they applied to the case. As it reads right now, Richard Bloch believes that players that have played hockey into their 40s are an extreme rarity. While there’s a handful of guys you could point to in the NHL right now that still play into their 40s and can play at an elite level (Nick Lidstrom, Mark Recchi, Mike Modano), Arbitrator Bloch is making the assumption that Ilya Kovalchuk will not be one of those players and that this contract was an outright sham because of it.
Here’s to hoping that Kovalchuk pulls a Gordie Howe and plays until he’s into his 50s just to prove a point. That said, the logic on everything works out to be a bit wonky. The contract Kovalchuk signs is agreed upon under the assumption that he’ll play until he’s 44 with maybe a wink-and-a-nod that if he called it a career before then that would be all right. The deal is nixed under the assumption that Kovalchuk won’t be playing until he’s that old. Anyone following along with the logical disconnect here and able to draw up a conclusion that’s based in fact is either a judge or a lawyer.
It’s understood that this now-voided contract was a clear attempt to make Kovalchuk’s contract number easier to digest, The issue that comes into play here given that career length and age were used as a reason to turn this down, the line is apparently drawn at 44 years-old. Rick DiPietro’s 15-year contract pays him until he’s 39 years-old. Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen’s contracts with the Red Wings will pay them until they’re 40. Marian Hossa’s deal with Chicago pays him until he’s 41, and Roberto Luongo’s deal with the Canucks pays him until he’s 42. If these are the parameters to be met for reaching a deal with a player, then re-designing a new long-term contract for Ilya Kovalchuk should be pretty simple, playing at 44 years-old is a no-no but being a goalie that plays until you’re 42 is apparently kosher.
With a dividing line that is seemingly that easy to draw up, getting a new long-term deal done should be relatively simple, but as we’ve seen with everything that’s involved Ilya Kovalchuk this summer, all is not as easy it appears.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have spoken out against a late, high hit that Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik threw on Olli Maatta early in the first period of an eventful Game 2 on Saturday.
Maatta left and didn’t return. He played only 31 seconds, and the Penguins were reduced to five defensemen for a large portion of the game. Orpik was given a minor penalty on the play, but the league’s Department of Player Safety may see it differently.
The hit occurred well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck. He struggled on his way to the dressing room for further evaluation.
Based on multiple reports, Orpik wasn’t made available to the media following the game, which went to the Penguins as they earned the split on the road.
But the Penguins have taken issue with the hit.
“I thought it was a late hit,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, as per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I thought it was a target to his head. I think it’s the type of hit everyone in hockey is trying to remove from the game.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.
Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.
Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.
It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.
It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.
For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.
Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.
Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.
Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.
The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.
Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:
In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.
Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.
Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.