A day of anxious waiting and nervous joking for Devils’ fans ended after 5 p.m. today, when they learned systems arbitrator Richard Bloch (a New Jersey native) upheld the NHL’s rejection of Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year, $102 million contract agreement with the Devils.
When the news first broke, I wanted to fire off an angry post about NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the decision. I was going to rant and rave about Marian Hossa, Henrik Zetterberg, and the other players who signed similar deals.
But, when it comes down to it, Bloch made a decision that wasn’t much of a surprise, and the league finally made headway into putting these long-term deals to bed. Read after the jump for my continued reaction of the arbitrator's ruling on Kovalchuk's grievance.