And Here We Go!! The grievance hearing over Ilya Kovalchuk’s rejected contract gets underway today in Boston.
Remember the name Richard Bloch because no matter what happens in the Kovalchuk hearing, Bloch will become an important person to the history of the New Jersey Devils just as Edward Houston was when he awarded Scott Stevens to the Devils.
Bloch, who is a a labor arbitrator from Washington, D.C., technically has 48 hours to make his decision. However, it is believed he will wait until Monday to make that decision public. Bloch isn't unknown to the New Jersey Devils though as he was the guy who decided that the Devils should pay Scott Gomez $5 million for the 2006-2007 season. Perhaps Bloch's highest-profile sports case was with Terrell Owens when he upheld the NFL wide receiver's suspension in November of 2005.
I've done a lot of reading around the internet on various NHL blogs and beat writers and most seem to agree that the NHL doesn't have a case in this. Seem the majority think the Devils can't lose in this case. It will be interesting to see how this plays because its all in one persons hands now.
One of the options Richard Bloch has is to restructure the contract so that it pays evenly throughout. Meaning, Kovalchuk would still get his 17 year, $102 million contract but have to play the entire 17 years in order to get the money. The cap hit would be readjusted so that is was a $6 million cap hit per year, which I would consider a win for the NHL and not the Devils.
It's all in one man's hands now and hopefully this will all be over VERY VERY soon. Should the NHL get a favorable decision and have the rejection upheld, then we start all over again and I am not sure I want to stomach that!