The NHL says Kovalchuk's contract is 'illegal' -- how can this be? Hasn't precedent been set? (see: Hossa, Ricky D, Bobby Lou, et. al)
File this under “things that make you go ‘hmmm…’”
It’s quite intriguing that the National Hockey League has decided to put its foot down with the Ilya Kovalchuk contract. There are several contracts similar to his, though not as long. I doubt they have a legal leg to stand on. Even if the New Jersey Devils and Kovalchuk himself knows this contract was written in such a way as to circumvent the Collective Bargaining Agreement, how can they prove intent? Is it that he’ll be 44 years old when the contract expires and, basically, nobody (let’s say 0.005 percent of players) plays past 40-ish?
Even so, how do you prove intent to circumvent? And even if you do prove it, if the current CBA has that loophole, how do you retroactively close it? And where do you draw the line? Fifteen years was OK for the Islanders’ Rick DiPietro. Marian Hossa signed a big front-loaded contract. Robert Luongo is on a monster deal. Where is the line? Why bring the hammer down at this point?
I am very curious as to how the league thinks it can get away with this randomness — either you can or you can’t do something under a contract. And, while I am not a lawyer, if those other contracts were not in violation, how can this one be?
The Kovalchuk drama continues! He always was a diva — this somehow fits. (No really … don’t you think?)
What are your thoughts?
Photo: Ilya Kovalchuk by Getty Images.