With Ilya Kovalchuk signed and the NHL and NHLPA agreeing to amend the collective bargaining agreement, this morning brings about statements from everyone surrounding the situation. Here’s a summation of what folks are saying this morning.
Devils GM Lou Lamoriello makes a statement on the Devils website.
“We have been advised today that the NHL has approved the contract between Ilya Kovalchuk and the New Jersey Devils. We are very pleased with this decision which will see Ilya Kovalchuk remain a valuable member of the Devils.
“The New Jersey Devils acted in good faith throughout this entire process and operated solely on the assumption that our negotiations and both contracts reached were fully compliant with the CBA, as written and applied. Arbitrator Bloch reached that same conclusion in his August 9 decision. We are pleased that this matter has finally been concluded to all parties’ satisfaction.”
Lamoriello’s statements are very clear in stating that the Devils stayed within the rules all along because the NHL has until September 17th to punish them for the circumventing the salary cap. While punishments could’ve gone so far as to reduce the Devils salary cap space, that won’t happen this time. Instead, stiff fines and loss of draft picks could be possible.TSN’s Darren Dreger tweets that other owners are hoping to see the Devils punished for this.
The Sporting News’ Craig Custance caught up with a handful of interested parties to get their take on things. Marian Hossa’s agent Rich Winter is, unsurprisingly, very happy with how things played out.
“It’s a hat trick for the NHLPA. They preserved and protected $300 million worth of contracts. These contracts are no longer an issue,” Winter told Sporting News. “No. 2, it provides absolute certainty to the process and … it takes out of Gary Bettman’s hands an incredible amount of unchecked power.”
Meanwhile, Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner viewed it as a positive that the league and the players association were able to work together on this deal.
“I think if both sides are willing to look at both sides, something can always be worked out,” said Devils forward Jamie Langenbrunner, who plays an active role in the NHLPA. “When you go from a strict point of view of your own and your own agenda and don’t look beyond that it makes it more difficult. As long as they work together as somewhat of a partnership, a lot of good things can happen.”
This entire situation being over with is a huge relief for everyone involved. Because of all the strange, entangling alliances this created getting things back to normal, at least for a couple of years, makes for a nice change of pace. Let’s hope it lasts.
The latest edition of “Wednesday Night Rivalry” on NBCSN features the Washington Capitals visiting the Philadelphia Flyers.
Both teams have been stumbling a bit here and there. The Flyers only have three wins since Jan. 31, though one of them came in their last game on Sunday. The Capitals lost both games since returning from their bye week.
The cost of struggles are easier for Washington to stomach, naturally. They’d rather make their Metropolitan Division lead insurmountable, but even so, they’re at least three points ahead of everyone else and have played the same or fewer games as their divisional peers.
The Flyers, on the other hand, are fighting for their playoff lives. Right now they’re on the outside looking in.
So both teams want this one, but the desperation level is higher for Philly. We’ll see how that impacts the game on NBCSN tonight. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.
Click here for the livestream.
— Up top, Danny Briere recalls that famous line brawl between the Flyers and Penguins in the 2012 playoffs. The two Pennsylvania rivals meet again Saturday, outdoors at Heinz Field.
— It has not been a good year for NHL ice, and a number of players are starting to get fed up. For example, Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk, who said, “It’s been awful. I don’t know what it is. Even in our building this year. I thought it was really good [when we came] back for World Cup and right after that for the first little bit. But the last little bit, it’s been so bad. The puck’s all over the place.” Guess we know how he’ll be filling out his survey. (ESPN)
— The days leading up to the trade deadline can be pretty stressful for players who may get moved. And if they do get moved, the days after can be pretty tough, too. “I saw my daughters four days out of three months when I went to Pittsburgh,” said Hurricanes forward Lee Stempniak, who’s been dealt three straight years at the deadline. “When I was traded to Winnipeg, I didn’t see my daughters for the two months or more I was there because of the schedule.” (The News & Observer)
— On the 2017 NHL draft, which may not have the star power of the last two drafts, but will still have some pretty good players available. Especially centers. (USA Today)
— San Jose’s Brent Burns is trying to become only the second defenseman in NHL history to win a scoring title. With 64 points, Burns is only three points back of Connor McDavid for the league lead, with Sidney Crosby in the mix as well. Bobby Orr won the Art Ross Trophy twice, the last time in 1974-75 when he piled up 135 points in 80 games for the Boston Bruins. (Canadian Press)
— Another Shark, Joe Thornton, is just two assists from 1,000 in the NHL. Only 12 players have accomplished that, with Wayne Gretzky’s 1,963 helpers leading the way. Joe Sakic’s 1,016 are the closest to Thornton’s 998. (The Mercury News)
Enjoy the games!
Tampa Bay forward Ryan Callahan, who’s only played 18 games this year while recovering from offseason hip surgery, has undergone a follow-up procedure and will be sidelined indefinitely.
The Bolts made the announcement on Wednesday, just hours after a big 4-1 win over Edmonton. Callahan wasn’t in the lineup to face the Oilers — he hasn’t played since early January, when he skated just under 15 minutes in a loss to Philly.
The nature of this ailment has to be concerning.
Callahan, who turns 32 next month, is in the third of a six-year, $34.8 million deal with a $5.8M average annual cap hit. And this lingering hip problem comes on the heels of a disappointing ’15-16 campaign, in which Callahan scored just 10 goals and 28 points — the lowest marks since his rookie campaign.
As such, Tampa Bay is now bracing for an immediate future without a huge part of its leadership group. Captain Steve Stamkos has resumed skating, but there’s no set date for his return from major knee surgery.
Callahan, who’s been an alternate captain in each of the last three seasons, won’t be playing anytime soon either.
Toronto forward Nazem Kadri drew the ire of Jets d-man Ben Chiarot on Tuesday night for a big — albeit questionable — hit in the Leafs’ OT win.
Chiarot was visibly displeased following the game and alluded to getting even.
“It’s not the right time or place to chase him down, but there will be a time down the line,” he said, per Sportsnet. “Might not be this year, might not be next year.
“But there will be a time where the shoe will be on the other foot.”
Today, Kadri responded.
“I’m not worried at all,” Kadri said, per TSN. “I’ll be here for hopefully a few years. But like I said, if that was one of my teammates getting hit like that, I probably wouldn’t be too happy, so I expect that kind of reaction.”
Kadri’s hit, which went unpenalized, drew the ire of Chiarot’s head coach as well. Jets bench boss Paul Maurice was also visibly displeased following the game.
“He’s six inches in the air when he makes contact,” Maurice said, per Sportsnet. “In my mind, from the rear view, the first thing that moves on Benny is the helmet. Didn’t like it.”
Kadri’s been involved in a few high-profile collisions this season. He pasted Sabres captain Brian Gionta in a game earlier this month, and avoided suspension for a controversial hit on Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin back in November.