Monday, September 13, 2010

Devils Fined Heavily For Offensive Kovalchuk Contract

The hammer of justice slammed down hard like thunder against the New Jersey Devils for the contract that had been ruled in violation of the spirit of the collective bargaining agreement. The $102M contract paid over the length of an improbable 17 years was a sticking point to the growing agitation between the mistrust of owners and even NHL front office. It became somewhat of a buck-passing event in the media weather who would get the PR blame because of it.
As a result, the Devils will pay a hefty fine and forfeit their third-round draft pick in 2011 and a first-round selection in one of the next four drafts -- New Jersey will choose which one.
So, the latest missile fired across the bow of the owners is the NHL fining the New Jersey Devils. This latest decision, I think, makes a clear and awesome picture of the NHL is in control and driving the league in the direction that it is going.

I don't know if this is going to complicate things for the NHLPA and the next CBA coming up. But if a player can take on a huge PR hit from the decision to accept the maximum of what a general manager is willing to give him, then will players be a little gun-shy with the public and media accessibility.

There is an alternate theory as to how the true feelings of the majority of the players might be resentful of elite stars taking more of the "salary pie" than what 3rd liners and other players. So, could this be leveling out the escalating and divisive salary structure help the relationship privately between Commissioner Bettman and the NHL players.
"We were today advised of the ruling by the commissioner with respect to the Kovalchuk matter," Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said in a statement Monday night. "We disagree with the decision. We acted in good faith and did nothing wrong. We will have no further comment."
It does sound like it has driven a wedge between Gary and Lou though.
The ruling makes the cost of signing Kovalchuk much more than the $100 million he agreed to in a revamped 15-year deal that was approved by the NHL earlier this month.
No, the real penalty comes with the 15+ years of post-season futility with "Kovalchick" and his weak playoff appearances.

[Via: Rogers Sportsnet.ca]
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