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Kovalchuk hearing concludes, decision by Monday

by Dan Rosen
The arbitration hearing that will determine the immediate and potential long-term future of star left wing Ilya Kovalchuk has wrapped up in Boston and now the hockey world, specifically Kovalchuk, the New Jersey Devils and the NHL, wait for arbitrator Richard Bloch to render a decision on the matter.

Bloch has until the end of business Monday to rule on whether the NHL was justified in rejecting the 17-year, $102 million contract Kovalchuk signed with the Devils last month. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly stated at the time the NHL rejected the contract that it was doing so because the deal circumvents the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

If Bloch rules that the NHL was within its legal right to reject Kovalchuk's contract, the Russian sniper immediately returns to unrestricted free agent status. If Bloch rules that the NHL unjustly rejected the contract and it is indeed valid under terms of the CBA then the League must immediately approve the contract.

Bloch spent the last two days listening to arguments from the NHL and the NHLPA. It is unknown if anybody from the Devils, Kovalchuk or his agent, Jay Grossman, were called to testify.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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