Age, not money, the dividing line in Kovalchuk's nixed deal with New Jersey

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.

Thumbnail image for kovalchukandbrodeur.jpgHere’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.

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    BREAKING: Carey Price’s composure

    ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 29:  Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens looks on during the third period of a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on November 29, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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    Even the best goalie in the world – one who makes it look easy – can lose his cool sometimes.

    (Heck, that used to be the domain of Patrick Roy, right?)

    It was quite the sight on Thursday nonetheless: Carey Price absolutely lost his cool and went after Kyle Palmieri during the Montreal Canadiens’ game against the New Jersey Devils. You can watch that spectacle in the video above.

    Palmieri received an interference penalty while Price received a roughing double-minor. Apparently fits of Price anger are rare:

    By Hockey Reference’s numbers, Price has accrued 39 penalty minutes in 465 career regular season games and eight in 54 playoff contests before tonight’s outburst.

    Video: John Tavares exhibits all-out-effort on this goal

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    Sometimes it feels like John Tavares is alone on an island. Even during such grimmer times, there are moments where it seems like he can do it all by himself, anyway.

    The New York Islanders have been quietly getting it back together lately (4-0-1 in their last five games), with Tavares averaging a point per contest during that span. Still, he’s obviously been getting some help lately.

    If you want an “all by himself” moment, look no further than the goal above, where he just out-efforts everyone. It’s an unusual sight, although especially jaded people may just come to expect this type of thing from Tavares. He’s that great.

    Niskanen will miss at least one game from that Bergeron hit

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    However you feel about the hit Patrice Bergeron delivered on Matt Niskanen, the bottom line is that the Washington Capitals defenseman is hurt.

    The Capitals consider the valuable blueliner day-to-day with an upper-body injury and noted that he won’t travel to Buffalo for Friday’s game against the Sabres.

    That only tells us so much, as the Capitals will face the Vancouver Canucks at home in their next game after that on Sunday. If that’s all he ends up missing, that wouldn’t be too huge of an issue. CSN Mid-Atlantic notes that he’s played in every game (all 189) since joining the Capitals, so he’s been healthy so far in his stay with Washington.

    Washington called up defenseman Aaron Ness to help give them some depth.

    As you may recall, Bergeron received a two-minute boarding minor for the check in question.

    Bruised Blackhawks will be without Seabrook, Toews vs. Rangers

    CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 13: Brent Seabrook #7 and Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks
celebrate a second period goal by Seabrook against the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center on February 13, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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    Scott Darling isn’t the only member of the Chicago Blackhawks who will be asked to step up with key players out of the lineup.

    The Blackhawks have already ruled out Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews for Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, as CSN Chicago notes.

    This will mark the eighth consecutive game Toews is missing, although the bright side is that Joel Quenneville didn’t dismiss the possibility of Chicago’s captain playing on Sunday.

    Seabrook is considered day-to-day after being shaken up by this awkward spill from Wednesday:

    A few days ago, Patrick Kane called upon others to step up with Toews out. That message can now apply to Chicago’s defensemen with Seabrook banged up.