Sooooo.... what exactly is going on in New Jersey? Obviously Lou Lamoriello isn't the type of GM who would be giving out 17 year contracts that could hamper the team salary wise going forward, go against the general spirit of the league and set (more like reset) an already poor precedent. Remember this is still the Lou Lamoriello who yes, did have a high payroll back when New Jersey was winning Stanley Cups and making finals appearances, but he also isn't the guy who is going to set a poor precedent to hurt the league. In the past he has made decisions that were almost Harry Sinden-like and refused to overpay players. Patrick Elias was getting underpaid on the first couple contracts with Lou even though players of a similar calibre around the league got more. In those days Lou held all the power, and there was no way Patrick was going to be able to sign with another team so Lou insured that he stuck around at a salary that was compliant with the team standard he had.
And now this guy is giving out 17 year deals? It sets a terrible, terrible precedent for the league and no doubt had Gary Bettman cringing once he saw it. Lou and Bettman get along well, and Lou has always wanted to do well by the league and always have. Until now apparently. The Kovalchuk contract was a dirty, filthy deal which by definition should be allowable within the CBA, but had a terrible odour from the start.
So its quite clear Lou wouldn't have signed Kovy to this deal, and his comments after the deal make it quite clear he doesn't totally agree with it. This was a deal that was consumated by Devils ownership the whole way as they went over GM Lamoriello's head and signed him. And Sweet Lou isn't the kind of person who lets others run his team (or at least he doesn't like it) so I doubt he is too torn up about this contract being reject it. In fact I would't be surprised if he is happy about the leagues decision. He is smart enough to know that commiting that kind of term and money to Kovalchuk, while beneficial for the first couple years (potentially), would probably hurt his team in the long run and I guarantee you if it came down to having to choose between Parise and Kovy that Lou would pick Parise in a heartbeat.
Interesting, interesting... wonder if the Devils will appeal the decision, and what will happen there.
Either way, let the Kovalchuk watch continue... not like there are any other stories to follow this summer (unless you count the Kaberle trade watch - which I doubt anyone does)