Today marks yet another “deadline day” in the Ilya Kovalchuk Saga. By 5 p.m., the league will announce whether or not they will accept a 15-year, $100 million contract between the Devils and Kovalchuk last Friday, August 27.
Read after the jump for information about today's deadline.
We all know the drill by now. If the league accepts the deal, then it will be registered and Kovalchuk will be a Devil (for the third time this summer). If the league rejects the deal, then the NHLPA has the option to file a grievance, in which case the league and players association would need to find a systems arbitrator to decide the case.
If the league makes no ruling by 5 p.m., then the contract will automatically be accepted and registered. There’s literally zero chance of this happening.
In case you just woke up from a coma or have been living under a rock, here’s how we got to this point:
Kovalchuk and the Devils agreed to a 17-year, $102 million contract back on July 19. The league didn’t like the structure of the contract, citing “cap circumvention”, and rejected the deal. The NHLPA filed a grievance for Kovalchuk, and both sides went to arbitration. On August 9, systems arbitrator Richard Bloch upheld the league’s rejection, citing the back-end of the contract and the age when the contract ended as the two main reasons for rejection. The Devils then went back to work attempting to sign Kovalchuk. They submitted the new contract on Friday, August 27, to the league office. With a decision due Wednesday, September 1, the league and players’ association mutually agreed to extend the deadline to today.
Don’t expect an early decision. Several media outlets are reporting that the league will take it’s sweet time with the decision, so expect something between four and five p.m. today.
Remember to check Running With The Devils throughout the day for updates!