Holik, Kasparaitis, and Rangers Resolve Problems, NHL Fails to Do Anything

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/readstory.asp?story_id=2475199

…moreAug 23) tsn.ca – The dispute between the National Hockey League and the New York Rangers has been resolved.

New York Newsday reported Friday that the NHL had reversed course and approved the contracts between the Rangers and free agents Bobby Holik and Darius Kasparaitis.

According to the report, the Rangers did not have to alter any portions of the contracts. The NHL simply dropped the matter.

League officials would not comment on the semantics of the dispute, and would only confirm for TSN that the matter had been “resolved.”

The NHL had earlier refused to approve the contracts because the signing bonuses were spread over the length of the deals, ensuring the players would receive some income in the event of a work stoppage.

Holik signed a five-year, $45 million deal that includes a $10.7 million signing bonus. About $2.7 million of the bonus was to be given out the first season and $2 million each following season for the duration of the contract.

Kasparaitis signed a six-year, $25.5 million deal with $6 million in signing bonuses. His bonus was scheduled to be delivered in annual $1 million payments for the duration of the contract.

After the league refused approval, the NHLPA filed a grievance and the matter was scheduled to be heard by an independant arbiter.

Holik, 31, scored 25 goals, added 29 assists and had 97 penalty minutes with New Jersey last season. The six-foot-four, 230-pound centre is a two-time NHL all-star and was a key member of New Jersey’s 1995 and 2000 Stanley Cup championship teams.

Prior to being acquired by the Devils, Holik collected 42 goals and 46 assists for 88 points, along with 157 penalty minutes in 154 contests with the Hartford Whalers. In 1990-91, he led all Whalers’ rookies and finished fourth overall on the team in scoring with 21 goals and 22 assists for 43 points.

Kasparaitis is only 29 but qualified for unrestricted free agency because he played 10 years in the NHL and earned less than the league average salary of $1.64 million last season. Kasparaitis made $1.15 million with Pittsburgh and Colorado last season while recording two goals, 14 assists and 142 penalty minutes in 80 games.