Source: Kovalchuk contract grievance saga to be settled next week

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Thumbnail image for kovalchukpresser3.jpgWhile we haven’t been talking much lately about the Ilya Kovalchuk contract grievance between the NHL and the NHLPA, there are things that need to be settled and if what Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice says has found is correct, we might see a solution to things next week.

A source said this afternoon that a system arbitrator has been ageed upon by the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association to rule on the grievance over Ilya Kovalchuk’s rejected, 17-year, $102 million contract.

A hearing has been scheduled, but the source would not reveal the identity of the arbitrator or the date, time and site of the hearing. It’s possible it will be in a city other than New York or Toronto. I will continue to try to find out those important details and will post an update if successful.

The sides had to agree upon the site and date/time of the hearing as well and appear intent on keeping it low profile.

The source did say that the objective is for the matter to be settled by the end of next week, though. So, you can probably guess that the hearing will take place early next week–possibly Monday or Tuesday.

The hearing is expected to take two days and a ruling would be due within 48 hours of its conclusion.

If this turns out to be true, chalk one up for both the NHL and the NHLPA for getting some of their differences put aside so that they could get a systems arbitrator in place and get this situation taken care of one way or another. Of course, that could turn out to be the only thing they end up agreeing on through this whole mess.  Should the arbitrator reject the contract, Kovalchuk is then once again a free agent and then it’s back to square one for everyone involved once again.

That isn’t to say that teams would come out of the woodwork to try and get Kovalchuk again, as it was it was between just the Devils and Kings for his services and while Dean Lombardi has said that the Kings would still be interested in him, it’s rather unfathomable to think that Kovalchuk won’t still end up in New Jersey. Then again, given how much insane stuff has already gone on through this entire saga, I wouldn’t bet against anything at this point.