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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    Sharks swarm in the third period, take down Predators in Game 1

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    For two periods, the San Jose Sharks couldn’t solve Pekka Rinne.

    Maybe it was because of that black cat that found its way on to the ice prior to the start of Friday’s game, or the video review that didn’t go in San Jose’s favor in the opening period.

    But that all changed in the final period. It started with Tomas Hertl on the power play finding room just under the glove of Rinne to get San Jose on the board. Joel Ward followed that up with a gorgeous deke, tucking the puck in behind Rinne just as he started to go behind the net, as San Jose was able to take advantage of a defensive breakdown.

    Logan Couture added the eventual winner. Within the span of 13 minutes, the Sharks had completely taken over, cashing in on two Nashville penalties and a defensive lapse.

    When the onslaught was over, the Sharks skated off with a 5-2 win in Game 1 of this second-round series with the Predators, who only wrapped up a seven-game series win over Anaheim on Wednesday.

    Ryan Johansen made it interesting, cutting into San Jose’s lead with under two minutes remaining, but any further comeback attempt was quickly halted by a pair of empty net goals from the Sharks.

    The game ended with a dust-up along the boards, before cooler heads did prevail.

    Another North Dakota junior goes pro as Blackhawks sign Luke Johnson

    Quinnipiac forward Tommy Schutt, left, moves the puck as North Dakota forward Luke Johnson, middle, checks Quinnipiac forward Travis St. Denis during the first period of an NCAA college hockey tournament game Friday, March 27, 2015, in Fargo, N.D. North Dakota won 4-1. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy)
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    Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.

    This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

    In 43 games with the NCAA champs this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, just shy of his college career high of 24 points set the previous year.

    Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, making him the fourth member of that program’s junior class to turn pro since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.

    Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.

    Brock Boeser, Vancouver’s 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.

    Video: Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1

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    Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?

    Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.

    Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.

    Official update on the really important story of the evening:

    Speed, skill help Stars score late victory to take series lead over Blues

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    The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.

    Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.

    As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.

    The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.

    Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.

    Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.

    Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.