No decision on Kovalchuk contract today, one NHL GM sounds off on it


kovalchukwithstrangestatue.jpgThe news on Ilya Kovalchuk and his latest contract with the Devils is… That there’s no news at all. The NHL has a deadline of 5 pm tomorrow afternoon to decide whether or not to approve the apparent 15-year, $100 million contract between the Devils and Kovalchuk. If the league fails to make a decision by then, the contract will be deemed accepted, but don’t get too excited thinking that will happen.

As for what other GMs in the NHL are thinking about this whole process, TSN’s Darren Dreger got to the bottom of things and found out that some executives still aren’t pleased with this contract.

Without knowing the specifics of the contract rival managers are left to consider the speculation that reports Kovalchuk’s latest contract offer to be in the range of 15 years and $100 million.

One NHL general manager doesn’t believe for a second the league will allow this one to pass either, stating Lou Lamoriello, the Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk are simply trying to “disguise circumvention,” adding, “trying to hide the crime, makes this even worse.”

When we took a look at this contract before, we noted that knocking off two years and $2 million seemed like a very slight change to the original 17-year, $102 million deal and that if the new deal was approved, the entire battle over this comes off as petty and mere wrist-slapping as far as setting the tone for future long-term, big-money contracts. The fact that at least one NHL executive (I don’t suppose that might be noted cap-busting contract opponent Brian Burke, would it?) has sounded off firmly on this could mean there are others that subscribe to this theory.

This leads you to think that maybe the NHL will again deny the Devils and Kovalchuk and bring us back to square one all over again and reinvigorate discussion of Kovalchuk perhaps going to Russia. We’ll know more by 5 o’clock tomorrow afternoon at the latest.

Here are the 10 oldest players to play a game this season

Jaromir Jagr
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This isn’t breaking news or anything. We just thought you’d like to know that three of the NHL’s 10 oldest players (who’ve played at least one game this season) are members of the Florida Panthers.

Oh, and the Panthers’ starting goalie? He’s the oldest starter in the league. (Scroll down.)

Here’s the list of skaters, topped by 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr:


Yet another veteran Panther, 36-year-old defenseman Brian Campbell, ranks 17th on the list.

Granted, the above list does not include 39-year-old Patrik Elias (who’s hurt) or 39-year-old Eric Boulton (who just re-signed with the Isles). As soon as those two play, Thornton will get pushed out of the top 10.

Now here’s the list of goalies who’ve started at least one game this season, topped by 36-year-old Roberto Luongo:


For the record, Luongo isn’t the oldest goalie under contract. That would be Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom, who’s 37.

Related: Can Florida’s old guys hang on while the young guys get better?

Hamburglar (groin) returns, Sens demote O’Connor

Andrew Hammond
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Matt O'Connor‘s time in the Canadian capital was brief, but still noteworthy.

O’Connor, the losing netminder in Sunday’s “Battle of the Backups” against Montreal — Habs No. 2 Mike Condon got the win — has been sent down to AHL Binghamton to pave the way for Andrew Hammond‘s return from a groin injury, per the Sun.

The Hamburglar has been out since the preseason, but his return is earlier than expected.

He was originally supposed to miss the first two weeks, yet now sounds as though he’ll play one of Ottawa’s two games on an upcoming road trip through Columbus and Pittsburgh.

It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.