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Don't be shocked if the deadline to rule on Kovalchuk's contract gets postponed again

Sep 3, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT

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Thumbnail image for kovalchukhighfive.jpgSome deadlines are more legitimate than others.

Don’t be surprised if the postponed-but-now-rapidly-approaching deadline to reject or approve the second contract between the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk gets pushed back again. We will keep our eyes on the proceedings in case there is a decision by the alleged 5pm ET deadline, but much like a cliched situation in which a lady keeps a man waiting as she prepares for a dinner party, “5 more minutes/two more days” might take much longer than that.

Before you bury the league or its players association too much (they deserve a little bit of dirt shoveled on them, for sure), it’s wise to take into account that this contract is becoming pivotal in the way deals are handled in the current CBA. TSN’s Darren Dreger paints that picture a bit more vividly.

An amendment to the CBA and the fate of Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract are tied together, so it’s conceivable, the NHL will postpone its decision, or flat out reject the Devils latest offer until a more concise framework of what teams, players and player agents can and cannot do is agreed on.

The NHL and the NHLPA had productive discussions on Thursday regarding potential changes to the rules that govern players contracts, however, at this point, it seems unlikely the two sides will reach a settlement, complete with a vote from the PA’s 30 player board in time for todays 5pm deadline to determine the validity of Kovalchuk’s proposed contract with the New Jersey Devils.

It’s bad enough that the league and the union are butting heads on this issue, but it gets even foggier when you consider the fact that the NHLPA couldn’t even stage a vote to approve or reject Donald Fehr’s efforts to head the group on Wednesday. How, exactly, will the players association win a landmark labor battle if they cannot even get on the same page regarding their own leadership?

Many signs point to the distinct possibility that today’s deadline will be pushed back again, but that being said, the Ilyawn drama keeps pulling the rug out from underneath logic. Just when it seems like a resolution will finally appear on the horizon, someone throws a wrench into the gears.

Will the scenario take one step toward some kind of resolution or will it remain in its most common state of bewilderment? Stay tuned today as we turn another page in a story that is morphing into an anthology of strange twists and turns.

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