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Report: NHL has ‘no plans’ to fine NJ Devils for Kovalchuk contract, at least at this moment

New Jersey Devils Re-Sign Ilya Kovalchuk

Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils poses for photographs during a media opportunity announcing his contract renewal at the Prudential Center on July 20, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey.

Bruce Bennett

While the New Jersey Devils could hash out a new, easier-to-ratify deal without too much of a headache, the Ilya Kovalchuk contract rejection could have meant more than just a hassle for the team. Let me point you to something Joe touched on earlier today.

As for the Devils, there’s a possibility that they could be fined by the NHL or docked draft picks for circumventing the salary cap. Fines range up to as much as $5 million dollars and could be used against the salary cap itself so as to more effectively punish the team.

The good news for GM Lou Lamoriello and the Devils is that it appears - at least right now - as if the league will not fine them for attempting such a CBA Houdini Act. Nick Kypreos has the word.

Hearing at this point in time the NHL have no plans to penalize Devils in any manner for being found guilty of circumventing CBA

It would be a wise move for the NHL to let this one go without a fine. While they achieved the decision they wanted, adding fines on top of that is a lot like those moments when one player receives a roughing minor for retaliating against an unseen slight.
Considering the big picture similarities between the failed Kovalchuk deal and similar ones like the deal handed to Marian Hossa, it’s good that the league won’t add financial injury to the insult of nixing the contract.

Many raised justifiable concerns about how this might lead to a 2012 lockout, but maybe this situation will help the NHL in the long run. Even if it justifies the well-earned reputation that the NHL is about as reliable and consistent as The Incredible Hulk.