Turns out the NHLPA stood up for Devils regarding Kovalchuk punishment

nhlpa_logo_rgb.jpgI know what you’re thinking when you see the headline. “Oh hell no, not more of this stuff!”

That’s a fine, fair and normal reaction but for those of you thinking that the NHLPA rolled over when the NHL punished the New Jersey Devils for circumventing the salary cap on their first contract offer for Ilya Kovalchuk, you’d be dead wrong. At least according to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks and his NHLPA sources you would be.

Slap Shots has been told that the delay of approximately 12 hours in finalizing the agreement reached in the early hours of Sept. 4 was caused by the union’s insistence that the Devils not be penalized with a loss of salary-cap space for having been found guilty of circumvention by arbitrator Richard Bloch on the first Kovalchuk contract submission.

The NHL, we’re told, finally yielded after it became clear that the union, protecting up to $3 million of New Jersey’s potential payroll, was not going to surrender on the issue.

Somehow we doubt that Lamoriello will be spending much time badmouthing Donald Fehr over the next two years.

Somehow we’re having a difficult time envisioning Gary Bettman re-appointing Lamoriello to the league’s negotiating committee during the next round of collective bargaining.

Standing up and fighting over this issue in particular turns out to be a huge win for the NHLPA. Losing $3 million in cap space would’ve changed the entire dynamic of the deal and would’ve served as a severe punishment for the Devils or any other team in the league that tried to do the same thing in the future.

While the Devils were already going to have to give up someone to get under the cap this year, picture them having to give up one or two more players to go along with that to make sure they could get Kovalchuk’s deal done. That would not be so pretty for the Devils nor effective for the union to sacrifice jobs like that to get contracts they want approved by the league.

Considering how late into the night they went to get the deal done, you can’t help but picture both sides sitting in a meeting having the world’s worst staring contest to settle things out. The league still got to punish the Devils, taking a third round pick from them and a future first round pick of the Devils’ choosing as well as a stiff fine, but considering how much tougher that fine could’ve been enforced, it’s a small, yet still noticeable, victory. They don’t all have to be big wins for the world’s shakiest union, but getting both the contract they wanted done as well as not hurting other players’ jobs is certainly a little something to be proud of.

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    Stars place Lehtonen on IR, call up Campbell and Nemeth

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    Kari Lehtonen will miss at least a few games with the upper-body injury he suffered the other night against Ottawa. The Dallas Stars announced today that they’ve placed the 32-year-old goalie on injured reserve, retroactive to Tuesday.

    With Lehtonen out, Jack Campbell has been called up from AHL Texas to be Antti Niemi‘s backup. The Stars host Vancouver Friday, with a game at Minnesota Saturday.

    Campbell, the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft, has struggled in the AHL this season, going 3-3-0 with an .873 save percentage.

    The Stars have also recalled defenseman Patrik Nemeth.

    Related: Campbell credits ECHL stint for turning his game around

    Gleason ends tryout with ‘Canes

    Tim Gleason, David Desharnais
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    Tim Gleason has likely played his last NHL game. The 32-year-old defenseman has informed the Carolina Hurricanes that he no longer wishes to continue his professional tryout.

    “Tim informed us today he wasn’t going to continue to pursue his tryout,” said GM Ron Francis, per the club’s website. “He looked and felt good physically, but didn’t feel up to the grind of the NHL mentally.”

    Gleason started last season with Carolina before he was traded to Washington in February.

    In his career, he’s played 727 NHL games, plus 32 more in the playoffs.

    Isles call Strome back up

    Ryan Strome, Johnny Boychuk
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    Ryan Strome has been called back to the New York Islanders, the club announced this morning.

    The 22-year-old returns to the NHL after eight games with AHL Bridgeport Sound. He had been sent there three weeks ago, after a tough start to the season.

    Strome had two goals and two assists during his stint with the Tigers.

    The Isles’ next game is Friday at Florida.

    McLellan on Oilers’ loss to ‘Canes: ‘That’s a really disappointing effort from our hockey club’

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    With the addition of Connor McDavid, 2015-16 was supposed to be the year Edmonton showed significant progress on the ice.

    We’re less than two months into the season, McDavid’s out because of a broken clavicle, and the so-called progress just hasn’t been there.

    On Wednesday, the Oilers hit a new low, as they were handed their fifth loss in their last six games at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes.

    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring in the first period, but Carolina answered with four unanswered goals by Jordan Staal, Elias Lindholm, Jeff Skinner and Andrej Nestrasil to win 4-1.

    “We got outcompeted in the second period, badly,” Mark Letestu told the team’s website. “Whether it was little puck battles or even just executing on systems. It played right into their game. When you get behind a team like this that’s so dominant in the circle it’s tough to generate chances to come back. We didn’t deserve to win this one at all.”

    As if things weren’t bad enough, the Oilers also lost Nail Yakupov to injury after a linesman (yes, a linesman) fell on top of him.

    After the game, head coach Todd McLellan didn’t hold back:

    Edmonton collected 14 points in the first 22 games of the 2014-15 season and after the same amount of games this year, they have just one more point.

    They’re currently alone in last place.