What did arbitrator Richard Bloch accomplish, in the big picture, in upholding the NHL's rejection of Ilya Kovalchuk's 17-year, $102-million contract and ruling against the NHLPA?
As Nicholas Cotsonika wrote "What, exactly, are the rules? They aren't clear. At least they aren't clear enough."
If a 44-year-old Kovalchuk playing in the NHL is "not impossible, but it is, at the least, markedly rare" according to Bloch, the assumption was that, conversely, a 42-year-old Marian Hossa was "possible,because 6 of some 3,400 players have played to 42."
But that would assume the Hossa contract was legal.
The notion that the NHL would double back and invalidate the Hossa deal seems farfetched because he's one year into it; not so Luongo, Savard and Pronger, whose extensions all begin next season.
Perhaps the Detroit Red Wings should be thankful both Johan Franzen's 11-year deal and Henrik Zetterberg's 12-year deal are one season old. Ditto the Calgary Flames, who won't have to answer for the $3.5 million salary drop for Miikka Kiprusoff from 2012-2014.
Mark Everson of the NY Post has more from the Bloch ruling on Kovalchuk, with two major points:
1. The fact that the contract went from a no-movement clause to a no-trade clause after the 11th season ended up being fairly significant in the ruling:
2.As has been reported elsewhere, Bloch "pointedly suggested that the Devils and Kovalchuk did not intend to circumvent the CBA" according to Everson. This is key, because an intentional circumvention could have led to financial penalties for all involved.
But clearly, just like anyone attempting to craft a long-term deal until the next CBA war, they had no idea where the line was drawn either.
Personally, I'm sick of all this Kovy talk and I just want the NHL season to start already. And I don't think I'm the only one. Later, I'll be making my annual season predictions, but this year, I've decided to add points, and my trophy predictions. Through-out the season, I will also provide weekely "10 NHL Questions" and my All-Star teams.