League Expects No Appeal From Devils

The Devils won’t be filing a grievance for the latest decision against the organization. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the decision between the league and the Devils over Ilya Kovalchuk’s rejected 17-year, $102 million deal is closed and will not be appealed.

“My understanding is the matter is closed both from the league’s standpoint and the Devils’ standpoint,” Bettman said after the NHL’s Board of Governors meetings in Manhattan. “There’s not going to be an appeal.”

The league fined the Devils $3 million dollars and made the club give up two draft picks – a third round pick in 2011 and a first-rounder in the next four drafts – for attempting to circumvent the cap with the rejected deal. The punishment, viewed as harsh by some reporters, seemed fair to Bettman.

“I’ve been very clear all along that in the event of a circumvention, in particular in a case where you have an independent system arbitrator finding a circumvention, it has to be punished.  It’s not different than when Toronto was punished on (Jonas) Frogren, which was a violation as well, although some would contend at the time that it was not that big of a deal. The cap has to be respected.”

In the Frogren case, Toronto was fined $500,000 and had to forfeit a fourth-round draft pick for signing the Frogren to a deal more than the maximum rookie contract.

Devils president/general manager Lou Lamoriello wouldn’t comment on the situation today.

“We’re just going to get ready to play hockey,” Lamoriello said to Bergen Record reporter Tom Gulitti.

If the league doesn’t expect an appeal, than neither do I. The Devils, caught in the middle of a brewing controversy, will now pay for their crime. It seems like a steep price, and considering what the team already gave up for Kovalchuk, that price continues to increase.

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