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The Ilya Kovalchuk Hearing Finally Begins Today

The hearing over Ilya Kovalchuk's seventeen-year contract begins today in Boston, though arbiter Richard Bloch could decide as late as Monday whether it will stand, or whether it illegally circumvented the league's collective-bargaining agreement, thereby making Kovalchuk a free agent all over again. The Post casually mentions that an NHL defeat "would likely increase the chances of a third lockout in 2012-13," but even the NHLPA isn't so stubborn as to force a lockout during the next CBA negotiation by fighting the closing of a loophole that never should have existed in the first place, right? Right? [NYP]

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