ARBITRATOR RULES IN FAVOUR OF NHL ON KOVALCHUK'S CONTRACT

NEW YORK — Ilya Kovalchuk is an unrestricted free agent for the second time this summer.

Independent arbitrator Richard Bloch ruled in favour of the NHL’s rejection of Kovalchuk’s 17-year, US$102-million contract with the New Jersey Devils.

The NHL team released a statement Monday night saying it respects Bloch’s ruling and indicated that it still hopes to land the talented Russian.

“While we do not currently have a contract with Ilya Kovalchuk, discussions have resumed and we are hopeful that a contract will be reached that meets with the principles in arbitrator Bloch’s award and the NHL’s approval,” said Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello.

Kovalchuk agreed to the deal with the Devils on July 20 but the league ruled later that night that the landmark contract, the longest in NHL history, violated the salary cap.

The NHL Players’ Association then filed a grievance disputing the league’s rejection.

The NHLPA said in a statement that it was “disappointed with the arbitrator’s ruling to uphold the NHL’s rejection of the contract between the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk.”

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=330008


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