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Devils Say They Will Continue To Pursue Kovalchuk; NHL, NHLPA Rather Quiet After Ruling

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly released a statement via press release late this afternoon after Arbitrator Richard Bloch upheld the League's decision to reject Ilya Kovalchuk's 17-year, $102 million contract.

NEW YORK (August 9, 2010) -- Bill Daly, Deputy Commissioner of the National Hockey League, today released the following statement with regard to the decision by independent arbitrator Richard 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."

The NHL Players Association also released a short statement via press release.

TORONTO (August 9, 2010) – The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) released the following statement today:

“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 NHLPA is currently reviewing the decision and will have no further comment at this time.”

Lou Lamiorello and the New Jersey Devils also released a statement, and that one probably is the most telling of the three.

New Jersey Devils President/CEO/General Manager Lou Lamoriello today issued the following statement in response to Arbitrator Richard Bloch’s decision in regard to the team’s contract with Ilya Kovalchuk:

“We have reviewed and respect Arbitrator Bloch's ruling in the Kovalchuk matter.  We also note and appreciate his finding that nothing in his opinion should be read as suggesting that either the club or Ilya Kovalchuk operated in bad faith or on the basis of any assumption other than that the Standard Player Contract was fully compliant with the CBA. That has been our consistent position throughout.

“While we do not currently have a contract with Ilya Kovalchuk, discussions have resumed and we are hopeful that a contract will be reached that meets with the principles in Arbitrator Bloch's award and the NHL's approval."

Kovalchuk could still remain a New Jersey Devil, and if Lamiorello gets his way, that will likely happen.