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Added September 15th, 2010 by Chalk
NHL

NHL Punishes Devils For Kovalchuk Deal

On Monday, the National Hockey League announced it had hit the New Jersey Devils with a big punishment for trying to circumvent the league’s salary cap with the original 17-year, $102 million contract the team tried to give Ilya Kovalchuk. The Devils were hit with a $3 million fine and will have to give up two draft picks — a 2011 third round pick and a first round pick in one of the next four drafts.

The Devils officially secured Kovalchuk’s services earlier this month when the league approved a 15-year, $100 million contract as part of an agreement with the NHLPA on clarifying and modifying the collective bargaining agreement’s rules on long-term contracts and the salary cap. The $3 million fine was the maximum financial penalty allowed under that new agreement. One piece of good news for the Devils is that the fine does not count against the salary cap.  The Devils also get to decided which first round pick they give up.

Still, the Devils are pretty pissed. “We disagree with the decision,” said general manager Lou Lamoriello. “We acted in good faith and did nothing wrong.”

While some good seems to have come out of the Kovalchuk drama that dragged on for weeks this summer — clearer rules, one less issue to get in the way of negotiations when the CBA expires in 2012 — the league and commissioner Gary Bettman couldn’t have been happy with the way the Devils forced them into arbitration. The Devils reportedly went ahead with a press conference celebrating the first contract when they had already been informed by the league that it would be rejected.  In the end, it seems like a bit of a pissing contest, and the extra draft picks and the fine won’t hurt the Devils more than the $100 million they’ve committed to Kovalchuk.

 
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