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Is The Nhl Being Unfair To Nj?


Guest Carey_Price

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Guest Carey_Price

First of all, I want to point out i find the 17 year deal absolutely ridiculous and I am totally against it. But one thing that needs to be cleared up is that no matter how ridiculous the contract is, it is legal. The devils found a loophole and used it to their advantage just like the canucks, hawks and the flyers (maybe). Here are the contracts the NHLPA has ignored in the past:

First of all here's Kovalchuck's 17 year contract

2010-2011: $6 million

2011-2012: $6 million

2012-2013: $11.5 million

2013-2014: $11.5 million

2014-2015: $11.5 million

2015-2016: $11.5 million

2016-2017: $11.5 million

2017-2018: $10.5 million

2018-2019: $8.5 million

2019-2020: $6.5 million

2020-2021: $3.5 Million

2021-2022: $750,000

2022-2023: $550,000

2023-2024: $550,000

2024-2025: $550,000

2025-2026: $550,000

2026-2027: $550,000

Now here are three others somewhat similar, but of course by no means worse (in terms of $/final years)

Luongo - signed for 12 years till the age of 42

2010-2011: $10 million

2011-2012: $6.716 million

2012-2013: $6.714 million

2013-2014: $6.714 million

2014-2015: $6.714 million

2015-2016: $6.714 million

2016-2017: $6.714 million

2017-2018: $6.714 million

2018-2019: $3.382 million

2019-2020: $1.618 million

2020-2021: $1 million

2021-2022: $1 million

Hossa - signed for 12 years till the age of 43

2009-2010: $7.9 million

2010-2011: $7.9 million

2011-2012: $7.9 million

2012-2013: $7.9 million

2013-2014: $7.9 million

2014-2015: $7.9 million

2015-2016: $7.9 million

2016-2017: $4 million

2017-2018: $1 million

2018-2019: $1 million

2019-2020: $750,000

2020-2021: $750,000

Pronger - Signed a 7 year deal till the age of 42

2010-2011: $7.6 million

2011-2012: $7.6 million

2012-2013: $7.2 million

2013-2014: $7 million

2014-2015: $4 million

2015-2016: $525,000

2016-2017: $525,000

I understand Pronger's contract was the only one that was a signing of a 35+ player, but that does not ignore the fact that he takes a major pay cut in his final 2 years, as Hossa does in his final 4 and Luongo in his final 3-4 years. Those are their early retirement years, so if they're allowed to have those kinds of unfair contracts, then why can't Kovalchuck? I understand his is 17 years and that chances are extremely slim that he will play until he is 44, considering he gets 95 out of 102 million of his money within the first 10 or 11 years. But what makes him so different from Luongo, Pronger and Hossa? The NHL shouldn't have rejected his contract but they should have created a new rule regarding a contracts maximum length, year-to-year decline, etc. Now if the Devils somehow take this to court (arbitration) I think they would win because they didn't break any rule in this signing. I'd like to go on but i have to get up at 6am for work lol. Anyways, share your thoughts.

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yea, the NHL is being unfair. If I'm correct, the contract IS legal under the current rules, and although I think that the contract would eventually lead to all kinds of bad things for the team and the NHL, it is still legal. And you also have to wonder where the NHL draws the line in deciding when to step i or not. The past contracts are similar but the Kovy is more "extreme". What if someone signed a 15 year deal or 14???

Just saying my thoughts on this through the assumption that the contract is legal.

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Guest Carey_Price
yea, the NHL is being unfair. If I'm correct, the contract IS legal under the current rules, and although I think that the contract would eventually lead to all kinds of bad things for the team and the NHL, it is still legal. And you also have to wonder where the NHL draws the line in deciding when to step i or not. The past contracts are similar but the Kovy is more "extreme". What if someone signed a 15 year deal or 14???

Just saying my thoughts on this through the assumption that the contract is legal.

Yeah that's correct, but for some reason many people, including habs fan on this board, were saying that the contract should not be allowed to go through before it got rejected. And now those people are happy that it was rejected, but on what grounds were they saying it should be rejected? That's what puzzles me the most...the contract couldn't have been more legal.

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First of all, Pronger's deal does not circumvent the cap. Although he makes less in the final years, because he sigend when he was over 35, even if he retires, Philli will have the full cap hit; so all the money he made will count against the cap in the end. However, it's entirely possible Philli was trying to circumvent the cap and just screwed up.

Now as for "unfair", that depends. There's no doubt the other deals you mentioned are bad, but Kovalchuk's took it to the next level. The NHL did investigate some other deals, but this is the first time they actually blocked one. Admitadely, the line the NHL has drawn is pretty arbitrary. But I think it was a case of them having to draw it somewhere. No doubt, Kovalchuk's contract is the most blatant circumvention yet; and if the NHL just let this trend continue, pretty soon you'll see a 100 year deal to give a 10 million player a 1 million cap hit. They had to stop it at some point.

That all said, the NHL should have stepped in sooner, it's quite obvious Hossa's deal and others were meant to circumvent the cap. However, you can't go back in time, the fact they screwed up in the past doesn't mean they should have to let the problem get worse and worse.

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Yeah that's correct, but for some reason many people, including habs fan on this board, were saying that the contract should not be allowed to go through before it got rejected. And now those people are happy that it was rejected, but on what grounds were they saying it should be rejected? That's what puzzles me the most...the contract couldn't have been more legal.

I think MoneyPuck had it right in the other Kovalchuk thread; the difference here is that they gave Kovy a NMC which expires right around the time that he'd be expected to retire. It's about as blatant as you can get. The TSN story indicates the rule under which the NHL was allowed to declare this contract void, which from my (limited) understanding of legalese basically comes down to "a team is not allowed to sign a player to a contract that knowingly violates the spirit of the rules in the CBA". This is a pretty clear cut case of that happenning.

Having said that, I absolutely agree with you that this is completely unfair. That this contract violates the spirit of the CBA isn't a question to me, so by all means it's okay to call it illegal. But to draw the line here after contracts like Luongo's or Hossa's have already been signed? Rubbish.

Those contracts may not have blatantly nixed their NMCs in the later years like this one did, but from my understanding they don't have NMCs to begin with so it's not as though they can't pull the same trick. In my opinion the league is only stepping in now because Lamoriello didn't try to hide what he was doing. In terms of circumventing the cap it's really not much worse than those other contracts (since they're not expecting to play to 42 either), and it's not fair to deny this contract just because the GM in question was a little more honest about what he was doing and may hav e made the league look silly.

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I'm looking at this very simply. I understand the perspective that what the NHL is doing is unfair and that due to not interveining with other contracts in the past, one would question, 'why this one?'. But what if more contracts like the ones in question show up? Of course it's unfair. But they had to say something sometime. If another contract like this one comes up and nothing is done, then they'll make excuses as to why 'that' one was different and didn't have grounds for rejection. Or they learn that consistency maybe isn't such a bad thing and reject that one too. And it'd be unfair to that team too but it has to start somewhere regardless of other variables between the contract in questioin and the ones being used to compare against it.

So, while I can see that it is unfair to NJ, I think it had to start somewhere. What I ask is, when would this seem fair?

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I'm looking at this very simply. I understand the perspective that what the NHL is doing is unfair and that due to not interveining with other contracts in the past, one would question, 'why this one?'. But what if more contracts like the ones in question show up? Of course it's unfair. But they had to say something sometime. If another contract like this one comes up and nothing is done, then they'll make excuses as to why 'that' one was different and didn't have grounds for rejection. Or they learn that consistency maybe isn't such a bad thing and reject that one too. And it'd be unfair to that team too but it has to start somewhere regardless of other variables between the contract in questioin and the ones being used to compare against it.

So, while I can see that it is unfair to NJ, I think it had to start somewhere. What I ask is, when would this seem fair?

Very good point, nice post.

I guess personally I'm just upset that they didn't do anything with the other contracts, but you're right; you can't gp back in time and change those contracts now, and if they didn't put a stop to it somewhere this would keep getting worse and worse.

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I'm looking at this very simply. I understand the perspective that what the NHL is doing is unfair and that due to not interveining with other contracts in the past, one would question, 'why this one?'. But what if more contracts like the ones in question show up? Of course it's unfair. But they had to say something sometime. If another contract like this one comes up and nothing is done, then they'll make excuses as to why 'that' one was different and didn't have grounds for rejection. Or they learn that consistency maybe isn't such a bad thing and reject that one too. And it'd be unfair to that team too but it has to start somewhere regardless of other variables between the contract in questioin and the ones being used to compare against it.

So, while I can see that it is unfair to NJ, I think it had to start somewhere. What I ask is, when would this seem fair?

Exactly, and although the best choice would have been to stop the past ones, given you can't go back in time, this was probably a smart one to start with. And the reason is that this one was the worst of all of them in terms of circumventing the cap. Now not that much worse, but it's not like the NHL allowed Hossa's deal then the next year blocked the exact same deal. The line they've just drawn is totally arbitrary, and it still allows deals like Hossa's until the next CBA when hopefully this joke is fixed, but at least they drew something. If they didn't, what would stop a 1000 year deal that paid league maximum for 10 years and league minimum for the rest, with a very low cap hit? This is obviously a huge leap, but still: the deals were just getting more and more ridiculous with no sign of slowing down.

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Exactly, and although the best choice would have been to stop the past ones, given you can't go back in time, this was probably a smart one to start with. And the reason is that this one was the worst of all of them in terms of circumventing the cap. Now not that much worse, but it's not like the NHL allowed Hossa's deal then the next year blocked the exact same deal. The line they've just drawn is totally arbitrary, and it still allows deals like Hossa's until the next CBA when hopefully this joke is fixed, but at least they drew something. If they didn't, what would stop a 1000 year deal that paid league maximum for 10 years and league minimum for the rest, with a very low cap hit? This is obviously a huge leap, but still: the deals were just getting more and more ridiculous with no sign of slowing down.

And to be honest, the most likely scenario here in my opinion is Kovalchuk signing one of those deals, almost exactly like the Hossa one. Like you said, they can't block the exact same deal... they'll probably still sign him long term with low hit at the end before this hole is plugged with the next CBA

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It is unfair in a sense because of the precedence of those other deals. As mentioned though,,,,the NHL needed to draw a line in the sand,, otherwise we would see these type of deals getting more and more rediculous. Its a loophole that teams are currently exploiting and it needs to be closed. An age limit needs to be agreed to by both parties,,, with one year deals after the age limit is attained.

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And to be honest, the most likely scenario here in my opinion is Kovalchuk signing one of those deals, almost exactly like the Hossa one. Like you said, they can't block the exact same deal... they'll probably still sign him long term with low hit at the end before this hole is plugged with the next CBA

Ya, probably all they need to do is some tweaking: cut off a couple of years, increase the 500k at the end to 1 million, maybe decrease the highest years slightly, change the NMC, etc. In the end, a similar deal that ends up giving the same money (with a realistic retirement age) but slightly higher cap hit will probably come out.

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Guest Carey_Price

I notice a lot of people here are saying they had to draw the line somewhere, and I completely agree with you guys. But as I mentioned in my 1st post, they went about it the wrong way. Don't draw the line by rejecting a contract, let this one go through and learn from your (big) mistake. Create a new rule that indicates how long players can be signed for and how much could a contract negatively fluctuate from year-to-year, especially towards the final years of the contract. So again, as stupid as Kovalchuk's contract was, they should have just let this one go and immediately created contract rules to draw a line AFTER this horrible agreement.

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I notice a lot of people here are saying they had to draw the line somewhere, and I completely agree with you guys. But as I mentioned in my 1st post, they went about it the wrong way. Don't draw the line by rejecting a contract, let this one go through and learn from your (big) mistake. Create a new rule that indicates how long players can be signed for and how much could a contract negatively fluctuate from year-to-year, especially towards the final years of the contract. So again, as stupid as Kovalchuk's contract was, they should have just let this one go and immediately created contract rules to draw a line AFTER this horrible agreement.

The NHL can't just arbitrarily create rules though, they have to abide by the CBA. What the CBA does allow is rejecting a deal for circumventing the cap (apparantly).

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The NHL can't just arbitrarily create rules though, they have to abide by the CBA. What the CBA does allow is rejecting a deal for circumventing the cap (apparantly).

Does the NHL have a best interests of the game clause like baseball?

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Was the NHL being unfair to NJ when they created that stupid trapezoid to take the stick out of Marty's hands? Anyway.....

IMHO, this isn't about the NHL being fair or unfair to the Devils, it's about the NHL trying to change the way it behaves in regards to a huge loophole in the CBA that turns out to benefit the players and not the wealthy owners.

The CBA was created by lawyers and businessmen with the hope that they could stop the players from making the kinds of money that athletes in other sports make. They gave it their very best shot, and drove it home with a lockout that cost the players (the poorest people involved) the most money. They created a CBA that they thought would keep the players in their place. Well boo hoo for the businessmen and lawyers on the NHL/owners side, the players and their reps found a perfectly legal way to get around it.

If they hadn't created and agreed to a CBA with loopholes so big you could drive a truck through them, that would be one thing. The NHL should man up and admit they made a mistake they'll rectify in the next agreement (when they likely cut a good 10 Million US off the cap max) which will be further designed to keep the players in their place for the benefit of the owners.

I have no sympathy at all for the league here - they have allowed precedent and as much as they might want to "draw a line", that should also be a line negotiated with the NHLPA. This suddenly waking up with a great big yawn and a "Wait a minute, what's all this?! We can't allow THIS!!" is ridiculous.

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