For the league to use the approval/rejection of the Kovalchuk contract as a bargaining chip manifestly undermines the salary cap system because it is in effect saying this: (1) whether or not this contract is actually a circumvention according to the CBA is irrelevant; (2) the league's ruling -- whether it says it's a circumvention or not -- is available in trade for favorable decisions on the part of the union.
There can be no, "do this or we'll reject the contract, even if it's valid; and if you do what we ask, we'll approve the contract, even if it's a circumvention." There is only "we reject it because it is prohibited by the CBA," or alternatively, "we approve it because it is allowed by the CBA."
Changing the rules of how cap hits are calculated -- IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TERM OF THE CBA -- is fundamentally unfair to all players who didn't cheat back when it was cheating and all players who now don't get to cheat now that the rules are different. That is more of a circumvention of Article 50 than the original Kovalchuk contract.