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Arbitrator Rules in Favor of NHL; Kovalchuk a Free Agent Again

Arbitrator Richard Bloch has sided with the NHL, which had rejected the seventeen-year, $102 million contract that Ilya Kovalchuk signed last month on grounds that it circumvented the collective bargaining agreement. The league can fine the Devils up to $5 million or strip them of draft picks as a penalty, though the Star-Ledger reports that's unlikely. Kovalchuk now becomes an unrestricted free agent all over again, free to sign with any team — including the Devils, who'd already held a press conference to announce the signing before the league rejected the contract. [Star-Ledger]

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