Saturday, December 4, 2010

Just in! Ilya Kovalchuk returns salary to Lou Lamoriello

(*note: I have blacked out Kovalchuk's address for his personel well-being.)

Well, there you have it. Kovalchuk wrote a check for $100 million to Lou Lamoriello this morning, obviously, since I gathered the top secret picture of it less than two hours ago. What is unclear about all of this is whether or not Lou will continue to allow Ilya to play. What is clear is that if he does, he'll be the cheapest player in NHL history, as he will cost the team absolutely nothing. His $6.67 million cap hit will likely remain pending league review. Now, I jumped right into action and I called Gary Bettman this morning to see if this violated any Collective Bargaining Agreement rules. Here's what he told me via phone:

"To answer your question, the player would be penalized severely for an illegal transaction of money. I mean, we're probably going to have to suspend him once we review the situation. The New Jersey Devils have kind of been in a tough situation since the summer, and the penalties they have already faced are rather unfortunate, because everyone knows the level of respect I have for Lou Lamoriello and Scott Stevens and all of the guys that quite honestly, I'm scared of that work for that organization...we will probably hand out the harshest penalties possible sometime next week, but hey, that guy is stuck on their roster for 15 years. 15 years! Do you know how many times I will have locked the league out in 15 years? The average salary will probably be fourteen bucks in 15 years at this rate!"

Bettman would not comment on why he plans to lock the league out.

I am taking a few things out of what has unfolded today:

- Lou Lamoriello needs to buy himself a new yacht.
- The Devils are still stuck with Kovalchuk for 15 years.
- $100 million is a lot for a simple apology to your general manager.
- Does this make the Devils the most valuable team in the NHL?
- Does Ilya's no-trade clause go away?

Other than that, I think it was a kind gesture by Mr. Kovalchuk to relieve management of his salary. I think a lot of players (*Scott Gomez*) can learn from what Ilya did today, and hopefully this will make the NHL a much better league.

However, there is one problem will all of this. Upon studying the check closer, I found something that may make this process a little more difficult:

So, now what?