Kovalchuk Press Conference Three

BREAKING NEWS: Kovalchuk Decision Deadline Moved To Friday

It’ll be another two days before anyone knows the fate of the proposed Ilya Kovalchuk contract.

The NHL and NHLPA agreed to extend the deadline to accept or reject the deal, which was scheduled for 5 p.m. Eastern Time today, to Friday at 5 p.m. The 15-year, $100 million deal was submitted to the league for approval on Friday, giving the league five days to make its decision. If the league did not make an announcement by 5 p.m. today, then the contract would have automatically been accepted and registered.

Continue after the jump for more details on the decision.

This move could mean several things. The league may simply need more time to evaluate its structure, which gives Kovalchuk $90 million in the first ten years and $10 million in the last five, creating an annual cap hit of $6.66 million. It’s also possible that the league isn’t comfortable with the contract, and would like to work with the player’s association to work out the kinks.

This is just another twist in a summer filled with Kovalchuk drama. The Devils and Kovalchuk originally signed a 17-year, $102 million contract back on July 19. The league rejected the deal, and the NHLPA filed a grievance on behalf of Kovalchuk. The NHL had its ruling upheld by systems arbitrator Richard Bloch on August 9.

Despite the twist, Devils’ general manager Lou Lamoriello remained confident the contract will be approved.

We remain confident that the terms of this contract comply, in every respect, with the CBA and meet both the NHL’s concerns and the principles of Arbitrator Bloch’s decision.  We remain optimistic that this extension will result in an approval of the contract and that Ilya Kovalchuk will remain a valuable member of the Devils for the balance of his career.

So now, we do what we’ve done all summer – sit and wait for a decision as to whether or not Kovalchuk will be a Devil next season.

Ilya Kovalchuk Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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