I'm not being daft, I don't see how it's circumvention, but I'm sure further information will come out later explaining it. I suppose I have to eat my share of crow given that I argued that it wasn't in the past weeks. Clearly, based on the result, I was wrong. So I'd like to know how I'm wrong. I'm sure there has to be something, because the last I checked, the "spirit" of a contract doesn't really mean anything as opposed to the actual contract itself. But perhaps that's a faulty assumption of my own.
Needless to say, a lot of Devils fans are unhappy about the decision. Especially considering that nothing was (or likely will be) done to Tampa Bay for the Vincent Lecavalier contract; Vancouver for the Roberto Luongo contract; Philadelphia for the Chris Pronger contract; Chicago for the Marian Hossa contract; Calgary for the Miikka Kiprusoff contract; or Detroit for both the Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen contracts. It may be silly to claim the NHL has it in for the Devils, but in the heat of the moment, it's a tempting thought. In fact, even though I argued against re-signing Kovalchuk, I'm certainly annoyed and baffled by this turn of events.
That said, I'm going to hold off on the snark and rage and what-have-you until there are details as to why the rejection was sustained. Right now, the situation is simple: Kovalchuk is an unrestricted free agent. The Devils can re-sign him to a different deal; or he can go elsewhere. That's the reality, let's consider the next step. Do the Devils re-sign him and for what? Do the Devils let him walk?
It'll be interesting to see what the Devils decide to do from here. It's probable that they have a contingency plan in place from here and could be prepared to announce a modified contract with Kovalchuk as soon as this evening. At the same time, given the amount of time it took for Kovalchuk to sign with a team after free agency opened, we might not have an end to this for some time.
It drags on.