Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Liz Mullen tweet,
Breaking—Arbitrator rules in League’s favor in Kovalchuk case, source says
added 5:22pm, via Nick Kypreos tweet,
Kovalchuk remains UFA. Confirmed by sources.
added 5:37pm, from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
(Bill) Daly released the following statement with regard to the decision by Bloch that the League properly rejected the contract agreed to by the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk:
“We want to thank Arbitrator Bloch for his prompt resolution of a complex issue. His ruling is consistent with the League’s view of the manner in which the Collective Bargaining Agreement should deal with contracts that circumvent the Salary Cap.”
added 6:59pm, from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
The NHL Players’ Association also released a statement through spokesperson, Jonathan Weatherdon.
“The NHLPA is disappointed with the Arbitrator’s ruling to uphold the NHL’s rejection of the contract between the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk,” the statement read. “The NHLPA is currently reviewing the decision and will have no further comment at this time.
added 7:06pm, from Damien Cox of The Spin,
The Kovalchuk decision, meanwhile, addresses a growing sentiment among teams that the front-loaded, long-term deals were becoming a competitive advantage to a handful of teams since two-thirds of the league’s clubs couldn’t dream of signing such contracts.
Some GMs said the NHL needed to put it’s foot down when Kiprusoff became the first to sign this type of contract back in 2007.
“I wish the NHL had started this five years ago,” lamented one GM.The NHL says it is still investigating the contracts signed by Hossa and Pronger.
via Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• A quick Tomas Kaberle update: Seven days left to trade him. Seven teams, according to Brian Burke, have made offers, none of them good enough to pull the trigger on. Burke expects a busy week. The clock ticks.
• The strange off-season of the San Jose Sharks continues: First, signing Antero Niittymaki to play goal. Then, signing Jamal Mayers to play whatever it is he plays. Like any of this takes them closer to that elusive Stanley Cup.
• Player agent Bill Zito says there is strong interest in sudden free-agent goalie, Antti Niemi. But what is he supposed to say? That he and Niemi misread the market and the Chicago Blackhawks by winning at arbitration and losing the best goalie gig in hockey?
• Something the players need to fix in their next collective bargaining: The timing of arbitration hearings. When you schedule arbitration more than a month after free agency begins, it makes it too convenient for teams to walk away from the awards they aren’t happy with.
from Jonathan Allen of SearchEngineWatch,
At SES Toronto I met Casey Rovinelli, Director of Digital Marketing for the National Hockey League Players’ Association. He explained to me that the NHLPA had yet to start on the fundamentals of building a search engine optimization strategy. In particular, he mentioned that despite being an authoritative source on NHL hockey players, the website often did not rank highly for searches about the players. Casey was keen to get started on an SEO strategy, so I offered to roll up my sleeves.
What follows is a How-to guide to begin optimizing your website for search engines, using the NHLPA.com as a live, working example.
Look For The Strongest On-Page Signals First
Whenever I perform an SEO audit for a website, the first thing I look at is the page titles.
continued and a good read especially for bloggers…
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
The arbitration hearing that will determine the immediate and potential long-term future of star left wing Ilya Kovalchuk has wrapped up in Boston and now the hockey world, specifically Kovalchuk, the New Jersey Devils and the NHL, wait for arbitrator Richard Bloch to render a decision on the matter.
Bloch has until the end of business Monday to rule on whether the NHL was justified in rejecting the 17-year, $102 million contract Kovalchuk signed with the Devils last month. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly stated at the time the NHL rejected the contract that it was doing so because the deal circumvents the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
added 3:20pm, via Tom Gulitti tweet,
I’m told don’t expect the Kovalchuk ruling before Monday.
from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
If, as expected, arbitrator Richard Bloch rules in favor of Kovalchuk, perhaps as late as Monday, his contract will be immediately validated. But then the Devils will have to find a way to shed some $5-6 million in salary-cap liability by season’s start to get under the $59.4 million lid and still have wiggle room for injuries.
Vital players would have to go, perhaps among Bryce Salvador, Colin White and Dainius Zubrus, either by trade or waiver/demotion.
Most important, such a verdict would validate heavily front-loaded contracts that the NHL claim circumvent the CBA, and become a major NHL demand for the next pact.
Should Bloch back the NHL and find that the contract is indeed an end-run around the CBA, Kovalchuk would again become an unrestricted free agent, and teams like the Kings and Rangers, as well as the Devils, would again be able to bid for his services in a more straight-forward salary arrangement.
Although it appears unlikely, the NHL then also would have the option of initiating its own punitive action against Kovalchuk and the Devils. A circumvention ruling off a league-filed action could cost the Devils $1.5 million in fines, with a similar amount deducted from their cap limit. Kovalchuk himself could be liable to a fine of $250,000-$1 million.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The NHL’s effort to disallow front-loaded, long- terms deals that are permitted by the collective bargaining agreement through arbitration is an attempt to legislate from the bench.
Commissioner Gary Bettman and the league are using this circumvention case against Ilya Kovalchuk and the Devils to try and gain the right to inflict arbitrary term-limits on contracts through the finding of an arbitrator after failing to gain that power through the 2004-05 collective bargaining process that created the current CBA.
“They absolutely tried to get the right to limit contract length,” one of the NHLPA’s prime negotiators into and throughout the lockout told Slap Shots. “It was another cap they wanted to impose, but we were able to win that one.”...
The preparation work is getting ready for the 90 minutes each side has to make their case in front of the arbitrator. Comparables of similar NHL players are used as measuring sticks; with the contracts those players have signed used as a major point of discussion. If the player elected arbitration, his side goes first. If the club elected arbitration, its side goes first. Both sides plead their direct case and, after a short recess, rebuttals by both sides are then made and the arbitrator has the material he/she needs to make his or her decision, which must be made within a 48-hour window following the hearing, as per terms of the NHLPA/NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement.
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
A source said this afternoon that a system arbitrator has been ageed upon by the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association to rule on the grievance over Ilya Kovalchuk’s rejected, 17-year, $102 million contract.
A hearing has been scheduled, but the source would not reveal the identity of the arbitrator or the date, time and site of the hearing. I will continue to try to find out those all important details.
The sides had to agree upon the site and date/time of the hearing as well and appear intent on keeping it low profile.
The source did say that the objective is for the matter to be settled by the end of next week, though. So, you can probably guess that the hearing will take place early next week—possibly Monday or Tuesday.
from Sean McIndoe (aka Down Goes Brown) at the National Post, .
..in an attempt to be as efficient as possible, the league has encouraged the NHLPA to consolidate all of their grievances into one single master list.
Well, that list was leaked to me this week. And the interest of keeping fans informed I’m publishing it here:
- Although we’ve made our feelings crystal clear on the matter over the years, there are still between 20 to 25 players at any given time who are being forced to play in Edmonton.
- Due to difficult economic times, Philadelphia Flyer fans are now pelting our wives and children with pennies and nickels, instead of the much lighter dimes they used to throw.
from Anthony J. SanFilippo of the Daily Times,
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has the ability to bring out the best of two emotions: he can make you laugh hysterically or infuriate you — usually at the same time….
The league has no leg to stand on with the Kovalchuk deal, yet denied it anyway. The Devils and the NHLPA feel they have a structured deal within the parameters set forth by the CBA, and they likely have. As such, they filed a grievance Monday.
The league knew that was coming and will likely lose the arbitration. But even if it wins, the whole reason it balked was to fire the first salvo in what promises to be another arduous contract battle with the NHLPA following the 2011-12 season.
It’s laughable because it’s so frivolous. It’s infuriating because it brings a black eye to a sport that has had far too many on Bettman’s watch.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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