Report: Ilya Kovalchuk contract grievance hearing should take place in Boston on Tuesday

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for laughingdevils.jpgWith trade rumors cropping up as early as 2009, there were some Boston Bruins fans with dreams of Ilya Kovalchuk skating for the B’s. Well, that won’t quite come true, but if recent reports are correct his future (to some extent) will indeed be decided in Beantown.

The hearing to honor or invalidate Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year, $102 million contract with the New Jersey Devils will reportedly begin on Tuesday in Boston, if reports are correct. Tom Gulitti passes along the rumor from Dmitri Chesnokov via Russian newspaper Sovetsky Sport. All three of those sources range from reliable to extremely reliable, so this rumor has plenty of traction.

What that means is that we might get a ruling before the weekend. An arbitrator typically receives a 48-hour window to make a decision (though they can ask for an extension on occasion) – whether it is regarding a player’s salary or the validity of a grievance such as the one filed by Kovalchuk and the NHLPA.

In case you didn’t already know, the arbitrator will either side with the Kovalchuk and make his contract instantly official or side with the league and turn Kovalchuk into an unrestricted free agent again. If that latter happens, the NHL might fine both Kovalchuk and Devils for their tomfoolery. My guess is that Kovalchuk will be a Devils forward either way, but you never know with a situation as convoluted as this has become.

Naturally, we’ll be around every day to update you regarding the hearing and other free agent news from around the league.