Last Friday, the New Jersey Devils submitted a contract with Ilya Kovalchuk to the NHL offices. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, in Article 11.5(d), the NHL has 5 days to approve or reject the contract. I've discussed this yesterday, and there was discussion and anticipation all day today, hockey fans were awaiting some kind of conclusion. Today would be the fifth day. The decision was essentially simple for the NHL: accept the contract or reject the contract. Yes or no.
The NHL chose, with the NHL Players Association's consent, to wait 2 more days - as stated in NHL.com.
I'll be brief: This is garbage. It's just about excremental as it just stinks all the way around.
Let's me ask some difficult questions.
First, the NHL took a whopping one day to reject the first contract the Devils submitted in July. One day. Maybe not even 24 hours. Still, it was a pretty quick decision. Ergo, it's not like it takes a while for contracts to be reviewed for acceptance or rejection. What makes this deal that much more difficult to decide upon?
Second, Bill Daly was willing to tell me of all people that they made it clear to the clubs what they would allow in future registered comments. Surely, if the league made it clear to the clubs what would and would not be accepted, then a decision should be easy to make, right? So what's the hold up? Did this deal do something the NHL didn't even consider? Or did the NHL never really made it all that clear to begin with, and Daly was just blowing smoke?
Third, the union decided to lie down for the league in allowing this extension. I'm presuming they could have said no to an extension, and forced a decision. Why would the union do this at all? What does the PA get out of extending the deadline? How is one of their constituents, much less the entire New Jersey Devils squad, helped by having to wait even longer for a decision to be made?
In fact: Why the NHL even needs this much time? Are they still looking for something to "catch" the Devils or Kovalchuk on in this contract to justify a rejection? Are they honestly divided upon what to do with the deal? Are they just making a point other that the NHL is more than willing to be publicly petulant and bush-league? Are they even aware that a lot of Devils fans now justifiably feel that the league has it in for them in that they aren't doing anything like this to other teams who have similar contracts?
At least Lou is confident, given this statement from the official website. But I can't imagine he's happy either.
There better be something incredibly valid to force the league to sit on this deal for a whole week. I have a feeling we will all be disappointed (and outraged) when the reasoning is revealed - if it is ever revealed.
For a situation that required a yes or a no, the NHL chose to stretch this out. Why? I couldn't tell you. I'd love to tell you an answer but there isn't one at the moment. I'd be honestly surprised if I get an answer to any of these questions. Admittedly, I'm further sick of rumors and speculation and rationalization and reports from "sources" and other news that turned out to be mistaken. We were supposed to have something today and at the end, the NHL chose to wait some more. We're now supposed to get a decision by Friday; but honestly, I don't know why I should put faith in the league making one by then.
Thanks for reading all the same. Please leave your thoughts in the comments, remember the rules are in effect, and someone let me know when the excuses start rolling in from the league and/or the union.