Don't be shocked if the deadline to rule on Kovalchuk's contract gets postponed again

Thumbnail image for kovalchukhighfive.jpgSome deadlines are more legitimate than others.

Don’t be surprised if the postponed-but-now-rapidly-approaching deadline to reject or approve the second contract between the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk gets pushed back again. We will keep our eyes on the proceedings in case there is a decision by the alleged 5pm ET deadline, but much like a cliched situation in which a lady keeps a man waiting as she prepares for a dinner party, “5 more minutes/two more days” might take much longer than that.

Before you bury the league or its players association too much (they deserve a little bit of dirt shoveled on them, for sure), it’s wise to take into account that this contract is becoming pivotal in the way deals are handled in the current CBA. TSN’s Darren Dreger paints that picture a bit more vividly.

An amendment to the CBA and the fate of Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract are tied together, so it’s conceivable, the NHL will postpone its decision, or flat out reject the Devils latest offer until a more concise framework of what teams, players and player agents can and cannot do is agreed on.

The NHL and the NHLPA had productive discussions on Thursday regarding potential changes to the rules that govern players contracts, however, at this point, it seems unlikely the two sides will reach a settlement, complete with a vote from the PA’s 30 player board in time for todays 5pm deadline to determine the validity of Kovalchuk’s proposed contract with the New Jersey Devils.

It’s bad enough that the league and the union are butting heads on this issue, but it gets even foggier when you consider the fact that the NHLPA couldn’t even stage a vote to approve or reject Donald Fehr’s efforts to head the group on Wednesday. How, exactly, will the players association win a landmark labor battle if they cannot even get on the same page regarding their own leadership?

Many signs point to the distinct possibility that today’s deadline will be pushed back again, but that being said, the Ilyawn drama keeps pulling the rug out from underneath logic. Just when it seems like a resolution will finally appear on the horizon, someone throws a wrench into the gears.

Will the scenario take one step toward some kind of resolution or will it remain in its most common state of bewilderment? Stay tuned today as we turn another page in a story that is morphing into an anthology of strange twists and turns.

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    Bolts close gap on struggling Bruins in playoff race

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    Well, that was quite a third period.

    For the Boston Bruins, it was disastrous. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it propelled them to a critical victory in the playoff race.

    Nikita Kucherov completed the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final period and Jonathan Drouin scored what would eventually be the winner, as Tampa Bay snapped its own three-game losing streak in a 6-3 victory, putting the Bolts within three points of the final wild card spot — held by the Bruins — in the Eastern Conference.

    The Drouin goal — his 18th of the season but first since Feb. 19, a span of 13 games — is probably one Tuukka Rask would like back.

    Drouin teed up the slap shot from the faceoff circle, beating Rask under the left arm.

    And just like that, the Bruins have lost four consecutive games. On Saturday, they face the New York Islanders, another team looking to catch Boston in the wild card race.

    Read more: Remember this stretch if Bruins settle for a wild card spot (or worse?)

    The Islanders are only two points back of Boston.

    Despite the win, there was bad news for the Lightning during this game, as defenseman Jason Garrison left with an injury.

    From NHL.com:

    The play occurred behind the Lightning goal, Garrison appearing to get his left leg rolled up from behind by a Bruin. Garrison had to be helped off the ice by Anton Stralman and Brayden Point and headed back to the Bolts’ locker room.

    The team announced during the second intermission that Garrison sustained a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game.

    Video: Ovechkin rocks custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

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    As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.

    On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.

    From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

    The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.

    Video: Crosby slash leaves Methot’s finger bloodied and injured (Updated)

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    Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.

    He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.

    The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.

    There was no call on the play.

    Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.

    Show me the money! Nylander sets Leafs rookie record with latest assist

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    Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.

    Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.

    That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:

    Not bad.