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Daly: NHL contract investigations continue, punishments may not be as harsh

Aug 18, 2010, 2:52 PM EDT

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billdaly2.jpgIf you’ve been wondering about whether or not the NHL is serious in their investigation of other player’s contracts in the wake of nullifying Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year, $102 million contract with New Jersey, deputy commissioner Bill Daly will have you know that they’re still investigating. Marian Hossa, Chris Pronger, Roberto Luongo and Marc Savard are all having their contracts looked at a little closer, but if you’re thinking the league will just blow up those deals, you might want to slow down a little bit before running with that conspiracy theory. Dan Rosen spoke with Daly to have him clear a few things up about what’s going on with the contract investigations.

“If there was a determination that there was circumvention there are a whole host of alternatives in terms of how we approach it and a whole host of remedies in terms of what can be ordered,” Daly told NHL.com. “De-registration of the contract is one potential remedy, but it’s not the only one. I don’t want to get into hypotheticals. The investigations aren’t complete, and we haven’t made any determinations as to how we proceed with respect to those.”

Daly said the investigations are being done “by an independent third-party professional we hired to do the investigations.” The players are able to play under the contracts because they were registered by the League. Ilya Kovalchuk, who had his 17-year, $102 million contract with the New Jersey Devils rejected, was not able to play under his contract because the League refused to register the contract.

“We’re at a different stage now that the contracts have been registered so there is a different procedure that we would have to employ if we ever wanted to do anything with these contracts, and I don’t want to create the perception or expectation that we are,” Daly said. “It’s just that these contracts continue to be under investigation.”

All right so if you’re thinking the NHL will come swinging through Chicago, Vancouver, Philadelphia and Boston with the hammer smashing everything up, you’ve probably just got a wild imagination. That’s not to say that these teams won’t have problems should the league declare shenanigans on those contracts, it’s just that their efforts to do something about them are hindered by the fact that they’ve already registered those contracts.

Daly not going into specifics about what the league could do if they find those contracts are similarly cap-deflating is a bit disappointing as I’m sure fans and teams alike would be curious as to what the process would be to make adjustments to make the contracts fit their own parameters. Whether things actually get to this step or not will make for a curious side show. Letting Kovalchuk’s nixed deal standout as the warning to everyone else to not push the limits that far might be all the warning the league really needs though.

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