Report: Kovalchuk and Devils meet with NHL, contract signing imminent?

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Thumbnail image for kovalchukpresser3.jpgOver the weekend, rumors abounded that the Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk were coming close to an agreement on a new contract, one that ideally wouldn’t be shot down by the NHL like their previous effort on a 17-year, $102 million deal that was nixed by the league. Today, ESPN’s EJ Hradek tweeted something of a not-so blind item about a handful of characters that had a meeting at the NHL home offices in Manhattan today.

NJ owner Jeff Vanderbeek, NJ GM Lou Lamoriello and Ilya Kovalchuk’s agent Jay Grossman met with NHL execs at league’s NY office today. Hmmm?

That’s an infamous crew if we’ve ever seen one and one whose intentions are pretty clear if they’re going to the NHL home office. As it turns out, everything is as it appears as Yahoo’s Dmitry Chesnokov finds out and a deal has been made.

A decision on the newly submitted deal — no details are being leaked on its value or length — is expected in the next 24 hours.

Buckle up everyone, the next day could prove to be a busy one. Get your calculators and abacuses out because the comparisons between the old, nixed deal and a possible new deal are going to prove to be interesting.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension

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Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.

Report: Kings, Richards nearing settlement

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The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.

You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:

If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.

The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.