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Penalized: NHL Hands Devils Hefty Fine For Cap Circumvention In Kovalchuk Mess

It's cute how the NHL phrases this news tonight.

"NHL, Devils resolve Kovy contract dispute."

If your definition of "resolve" is "we're going to tell you what to do," then yes, this matter is resolved. The NHL has handed out a hefty fine to the New Jersey Devils over the Kovalchuk situation, stripping the club of $3 million in cash and two draft picks -- a third rounder in 2011 and a first rounder in the either 2011, 2012, 2013 or 2014.

The year on that first rounder is at the Devils' discretion, and according to the report, the Devils have to alert the league by the day after the Stanley Cup is awarded in the year they select. Where do those two draft picks go? They vanish, and two players are robbed from NHL draft glory because of them.

Thanks, Mr. Lamoriello.

In all seriousness, the Devils aren't happy with this, obviously. They should feel lucky that the $3 million fine will not hit them in the salary cap, but don't tell them that this evening. Lou was short and sweet in the statement he released on the matter.

Newark, NJ – New Jersey Devils President/CEO/General Manager Lou Lamoriello today issued the following statement:
“We were today advised of the ruling by the Commissioner with respect to the Kovalchuk matter. We disagree with the decision. We acted in good faith and did nothing wrong.  We will have no further comment.”

We quoted the whole thing there, even the dateline, just to show how succinct it was. We think it speaks volumes. Also, the "we did nothing wrong" thing seems rather petty when faced with the decision of an independent arbitrator who said they did in fact do something wrong, but nevertheless.

At the end of the day (and seriously, this better be the last update this StoryStream ever sees), the NHL has clearly won the war against long-term, cap circumventing contracts. They forced the NHLPA into an agreement on these a few weeks ago, and now they've sent a clear message to the NHL's teams.

Don't do this again, or we'll steal your stuff.

For more, be sure to check out our Devils blog, In Lou We Trust.