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Reports: Kovalchuk arbitration starts Wed.

Tuesday, 08.03.2010 / 10:10 AM / NHL Free Agency 2010

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Ilya Kovalchuk's immediate and potentially long-term future will be determined at a hearing that will take place in Boston starting Wednesday according to multiple reports. It will be up to arbitrator Richard Bloch to determine if the NHL was within its legal right to reject the 17-year, $102 million contract Kovalchuk signed with the New Jersey Devils on July 19 or if the contract should be immediately approved by the League.

The hearing will reportedly begin Wednesday and conclude Thursday. Bloch could render his decision as early as Friday, though a report in the Newark Star-Ledger suggested Monday would be more likely for the ruling to come down.

If Bloch determines that the League was right to reject the contract because, as NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly stated, it circumvents the Collective Bargaining Agreement, then Kovalchuk immediately will return to unrestricted free agent status. If Bloch rules that the contract is valid under the current CBA, then the League must immediately approve it.

According to reports Kovalchuk put off his return trip home to Russia in order to be present at the hearing. He was supposed to leave to start training in his country on Aug. 1.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

Once again, it shows character in this dressing room. Once again, there's no quitting in here. We all wanted this so bad and we worked so hard to get home-ice advantage and we weren't going to let this one slide.

— Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on his team's OT Game 1 win vs. Minnesota Wild