Bad night for Kovalchuk and vuvuzelas

So, what do Ilya Kovalchuk and a vuvuzela have in common? What’s that you say…they both have made themselves out to be an annoying nuisance this summer?

No, no, no…that’s not the answer I was looking for. What I was getting at was both of them got B-slapped in the NHL community Tuesday night.

League Says No-No To Kovy’s Contract

In the case of Kovy, the league office nixed his newly inked 17-year, $102 million contract with the New Jersey Devils. As TSN reports, the league rejected the deal saying that it circumvented the salary cap rules.

Under the contract, Kovalchuk was to earn $10 million per season over the next eight years, $7.5 million for the following two seasons then one mil per year throughout the course of the final seven years.

I guess The Great Kovy Signing Saga of 2010 continues.

No Vuvuzela For You, Sir!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…the Atlanta Thrashers banned the use of vuvuselas in Philips Arena. In case you don’t already know, vuvuzelas are those obnoxious sounding long stadium horns that gained notoriety during the recent World Cup tournament that was held in South Africa.

The horns were fashioned after a kudu horn, which was used to call out to surrounding villagers to gather for community events. But they sounded like giant bees swarming overhead while watching an otherwise very entertaining tournament that ended in Spain hoisting the World Cup trophy for the very first time.

They made such an “impression” in the wide, wide world of sports that the Thrashers organization are now telling Thrashers fans, “No vuvuzela for you”!

The banning of vuvuzelas at Thrashers games is...

  • A good idea (81%, 152 Votes)
  • A bad idea (19%, 35 Votes)

Total Voters: 187

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Located under the Fan Conduct heading on the Thrashers web site, fans are provided a list of items that will not be allowed inside Philips Arena for Thrashers game. The seventh bullet item down reads, “Prohibited entry items such as containers, food & beverage, airhorns, vuvuzelas, weapons and laser pointers. Cameras, video cameras and audio recorders are prohibited when posted for certain events”.

Some may disagree with me on this subject, but I for one welcome the news. It’s one thing for thousands of fanatic soccer fans…excuse me, football fans…gather in a large outdoor stadium and blast the bloody things for two hours or more. But it’s quite another to have these things buzzing your eardrums inside an enclosed hockey arena.

So, giving vuvuzelas the boot from Thrasherville is a good thing, in my humble opinion. And I think it’s something the NHL league office could support as well.

You know, unlike the Kovalchuk deal with the Devils.

And Finally…

Hey guys, you ever ask a young lady out on a date only to have her respond, “Yeah…when donkeys fly!” Well…here ya go.

190 comments Add your comment

Thrashy Thrashy

July 20th, 2010
11:17 pm

I think Lou got a double vuvuzela box to the ears tonight. Funny situation in Jersey.

J(Z)

July 20th, 2010
11:20 pm

Bravo on both accounts! The Kovy contract was a farce! I’d love to see him sign elsewhere now! Like, let’s say, Russia?

R. Stroz

July 20th, 2010
11:24 pm

I thought the Luongo and Pronger contracts had pushed the boundries too far, the Hossa contract should have been voided as the terms clearly were “not in the spirit” of the CBA.

As a result of the Hossa contract being allowed, Nasty Lou and scumball Grossman pushed the boundries even further, to the point of absurdity, so action had to be taken.

I’m glad to see Bettman “grew a pair” and put a stop to the insanity.

I guess the Devil was in the details.

jeff97

July 20th, 2010
11:30 pm

You gotta love it. How this plays out now could get very interesting. Does Lou try and reach a deal now at all costs to try and save face? Even if it means to the detriment of his teams future? if they were simply to shave off 4 years on the contract with the same money, you would end up with an 8 million per year cap hit.

For Kovy, that must feel like he was about to take his first bite of a great meal and someone pulled the plate off his table….ouch

Blueland Warrior

July 20th, 2010
11:34 pm

Kovy tried to pull a Hossa… LMAO!

slaughter_rule

July 20th, 2010
11:45 pm

Hossas’s deal is front loaded but not as insulting as the Kovy deal. Hossa never makes under a $1 mil/yr according to capgeek.com where kovy’s deal puts the last 6 years of it under $1 mil/yr

kracker

July 20th, 2010
11:52 pm

Thanks, Rawhide, for the new info. I had the contract details wrong per information that circulated yesterday. This contract structure, while still being pretty bad, isn’t quite as offensive (to me) as what was first thought to be the payout over the contract life. Yesterday’s numbers had Kovalchuk earning the league minimum for the last 5 years and just $200K over league minimum for the year before that. One million a year is still ridiculous but it is a seven figure salary.

It must have been the 17 year length of the contract, along with the final seven years of low salary, where Betteman drew the line. And it’s about time, I say.

Alan R.

July 20th, 2010
11:52 pm

As per Capgeek:

In order to retain status as a certified agent … each agent shall annually certify he has not violated CBA Article 26 (no circumvention).

I think some agent out there just grossman’d in his pants.

Cory

July 20th, 2010
11:53 pm

@slaughter_rule Hossa makes 750k in the final two years of his deal.

Tom

July 20th, 2010
11:56 pm

It will be interesting to see what the NHLPA does for the grievance. Do they fight for Kovy’s deal or do they call BS on it.

I am thinking they will fight for it as it allows other players on the Devils to earn more as the team goes max cap each year.

Alan R.

July 20th, 2010
11:58 pm

I’m almost certain the NHLPA will file a grievance. However, the contract is dead until an arbitrator rules otherwise.

Tom

July 21st, 2010
12:04 am

Our old friends Custances take on the Kovy fiasco http://bit.ly/bGUDXG

Soup Nazi

July 21st, 2010
12:04 am

Grossman, no soup for you

Nasty Lou, no soup for you

Kovy, no money for you

Thrashers27

July 21st, 2010
12:14 am

Wow! I’m laughing out loud to myself right now. Just found out about the Kovy deal being stricken down. That is very amusing!

Does this mean L.A. is back in the mix? This is the most hilarious soap opera ever.

Alan R.

July 21st, 2010
12:16 am

T27 – If the NHLPA files a grievance, and the arbitrator rules in favor of the NHL, then yes.

If the NHLPA chooses not to file a grievance, then LAK are already in the mix. Again. If the reported remarks by Lombardi regarding Atlanta are true, then we’re back in the mix as well.

Brendan

July 21st, 2010
12:56 am

I still am amused, somewhat, at Toronto Maple Leaf site blogger Ulman’s comments prior to the Kovalchuk signing, where he suggested that Kovalchuk heard his best offer from the Atlanta Thrashers and never should have looked passed it. Then he cited “Imagine Cinderella passing on Prince Charming at the ball, to find another suitor.” Hard to believe anyone in the hockey media, much less Toronto, would suggest Atlanta was Kovalchuk’s best longterm option.

On to those kuzus, ‘cuz that’s what I call them, I’m thrilled they’ve been banned. I think R.Stroz is free and clear with his bullhorn, though. Good! We need the bullhorn!!

Thrashers27

July 21st, 2010
12:58 am

Sorry, Alan, but that ship has sailed.

It would be a PR nightmare to bring Kovy back to Atlanta. The true fanbase would take it as a slap in the face.

The only way bringing Kovy back to Atlanta would be seen as a success is if Ilya were to survive through six months of relentless booing and trumpeting vuvuzelas at every home game only to score 170 goals and lead the team to the SCF to win in a sweep over the much maligned New York Rangers who had, for some reason been temporarily moved to the Western Conference for the 2010/11 season. That Rangers team would still be coached by the widely despised John Torterella and the lineup would magically contain Sean Avery, Dan Carcillo, Scott Hartnell, Donald Brashear, Ty Domi, Cindy Crotchby, Milan Lucic and the dreaded Antero Nittymonkey and any other player whom we collectively despise.

In the process of beating the Rangers “17″ to nothing for every game of the final round, Kovy would have to call a bank a shot off the cross bar, off Torterella’s forehead and back into the basket for the game winner in all four games.

Then and only then would bringing Kovy back to Atlanta be a stroke of genious.

Let the soap opera continue.

Alan R.

July 21st, 2010
1:05 am

Sorry, Alan, but that ship has sailed.

It would be a PR nightmare to bring Kovy back to Atlanta. The true fanbase would take it as a slap in the face.

T27 – I know. All I’m doing is saying Atlanta was in it til the very end.

After the way we played without him last year, I’m happier without him. I’m pretty certain I’ve commented to that effect in the past.

Brendan

July 21st, 2010
1:06 am

Here’s a short solution to the Kovalchuk contract situation. Just pay Kovalchuk his $6.0 million every year, for 17 years. Who can argue with that? And if Kovalchuk retires early, he sacrifices $24 million between the age of 41 to 44. $30 million, if he annuls the final 5 years. It would still seem like a ‘great deal’ for the Devils for the first 12 years, or so. Kovalchuk would be 39, twelve years from now. And potentially still worth $6 million, given the nature of inflation in the future.

I’ll tell you why Kovalchuk and his agent won’t agree to that. Pride. It’s exactly the same $102 million, it’s just that a $6.0 million-a-year contract doesn’t “wow” anyone. It’s not more than Crosby or Ovechkin. Or Lecavalier or Iginla. Or Drury, Briere, Gomez, or Vanek. It’s not some $10 million salary or cap hit. It lacks “oomph.” But if Ilya would agree to it, the NHL would probably agree to it, too. Let’s face some concepts here. If Ilya wants to play in NJ, then that’s his choice. And if he’d agree to $6 million-a-year, from now on, his Devils could afford to do a lot of things. And at the end of the day, if he honors his contract by playing all 17 seasons, the money will be the same. Which leads me to this: “Ilya Kovalchuk never needed dime # 1 of this contract.” This is about ego, while landing on a contender.

Hockey Biltong爽

July 21st, 2010
1:18 am

Who cares about Kovy?
He’s gone, no matter what.
I want my vuvuzelas.
Sitting alone last season my lungs were exhausted.
This is the aid I need to fill the empty arena with sound.
I will smuggle them in and tell the usher it is a new food being served at Philips.

Alan R.

July 21st, 2010
1:30 am

If you use a vuvuzela correctly, it doesn’t make that buzzing noise.

Sharon

July 21st, 2010
1:53 am

Two days ago I was really annoyed with the Kovalchuk drama, but now I find it really entertaining. Pass the popcorn!

Thrashers27

July 21st, 2010
2:36 am

Blow it out your “vuvuzela”!

In all honesty, I have a “vuvu” that breaks down to half size and I think it could be easily smuggled into a game, but they are really obnoxious and are ultimately for soccer crowds. I may be in the minority here, I think soccer is the most lame sport ever invented and hockey should maintain it’s own rituals and traditions. Save the vuvu noise for “futbol”.

I’m glad they have been banned from Thrashers games…if only we could ban people from yelling “KNIGHTS!”

World Be Free

July 21st, 2010
5:50 am

The real loser here is Lou – one of the most respected hockey and sports executives until this fiasco. I think the level of respect Lou once commanded has diminished somewhat because of his failed attempt to skate around the salary cap.

If you want a player like Kovalchuk, you gotta pay for him. That simple.

ThrasherFan13

July 21st, 2010
6:04 am

I for one think Kovalchuk got just what he deserves. He’s a liar and a cheat. He lied to Atlanta and got away with it……that is right up to the point that they made the 10/102 offer to him. He has spoken on numerous occasions about what a first-class operation the NJD are…..bitch-slapping Atlanta and it’s fans all the way. He’s going to lie again when this goes to arbitration and makes his claim that the barainng was in good faith and they did not intend to circumvent the spirit of the CBA.

I would have had a whole lot more respect for the man and his game if he had the guts to stand up and say “Thank you for the offer Atlanta, but I not only want to take are of my family, I want to win and I don’t believe that we can do it her, with the Thrashers.

I hope he chokes on his contract and I hope the the NJD mortgages their future for the next 12 years to keep a primadonna winger who hangs out on the blue line and refuses toget his hands dirty.

Atlanta is better off without him.

Oh, and by the way…..true fans will go out of their way on December 18 t buy tickets to the ATL v. NJD game and let Mr. Clusterchuck exactly how we feel about his sorry ass.

I’ll be there…….will you?

Red Light

July 21st, 2010
6:05 am

Not sure Atlanta and Prince Charming is an apt reference, but I can see how with a wave of his wand and a chant of “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” that fairy godfather Lou will turn the pumpkin into a marvelous coach by re-working the deal for 13 years and a cap hit of $7.923 million per year. All they have to do is take the last four years of the deal and roll that money into the final two years of the contract.

Interesting that the so-called flurry of activity expected after “the signing” has yet to happen and I’m amazed that Shaone Morrisonn and so many others are still on the market.

World Be Free

July 21st, 2010
7:48 am

I go back to my earlier post-
Management/ownership in hockey often cries that they are losing money, they can’t make money in hockey. With the players, they create a system to attempt to control and manage salaries, their largest expense. So what does management do? They devise sleezy contracts to beat their own system, undermining the very mechanism put in place to control costs-they destabilize themselves.

I don’t “blame” Grossman or Kovalchuk, because they are both scumbags that will do anything to get their money. The blame here is squarely on Lou, who sunk to the level of an agent and a lying player. This is what’s wrong with hockey and it shouldn’t take a veto from Bettman for people to see this situation for what it is.

Red Light-yeah Morrisson is Smoothie’s pick, I like him too as a safe pick.

But I think the priority here is to get our RFAs signed long term. No short term deals to get our RFAs to free agency like Armstrong. Sign these guys to 3 year contracts; it is time for some real commitment from management to show they are in this form the long term, regardless of the labor situation. Dudley’s work is far from being done.

Dwayne

July 21st, 2010
8:12 am

So Simon and his contract are gone from Philly, does Philly get in the mix for Kovy?

rob

July 21st, 2010
8:15 am

AHHHHHH HAAAAAAA HAAAAAAA HAAAAAAA HAAAAAAA! too funny! the people driving around me must have wondered when I heard on the radio the deal was denied by Bettman. Now the best scenario is him going to Russia! There I am done w #17. I hope the rest of the league now moves on and gets the rest of the UFA pool signed.

R. Stroz

July 21st, 2010
8:29 am

Grossman isn’t tweeting again.

Don’t you just hate it for him.

Baron

July 21st, 2010
8:30 am

Thrasher27 – Why do you have a problem with KNIGHTS!?

Sara

July 21st, 2010
8:44 am

TF13 – how would *you* compare an organization that excels at drafting and player retention, makes the play-offs every season, and has won 3 Stanley Cups over the last 15 seasons with one that has watched 4 star players walk away, made the play-offs once, and routinely finds itself in lottery draft position? Kovy has only ever had nice things to say about the city of Atlanta, the Thrasher fans, and his former teammates. That’s certainly a far cry from Heatley’s “It’s nice to finally be able to play in a real hockey city with knowledgeable fans.” It’s ridiculous to get ticked off at a player for tacitly insinuating opinions Thrasher fans have been espousing on blogs and message boards for years.

All Grossman and Lou need to do is shave off the last two years on that contract, take it down to $101M/15 and there won’t be any argument the League can make. That puts Kovy at 42 when the contract expires – same as Hossa’s deal – and DiPietro has already set the precedent for a 15 year contract. It bumps the cap hit up a bit to $6.7M but the Devils will just have to get over that and take those lumps.

rob

July 21st, 2010
8:53 am

Baron,
I think the overall issue is the screaming during the national anthem. Disrespectful IMO Wear your Knights and Flames jerseys to show your support of former Atlanta hockey teams, we all know what you’re supporting by doing so.

Dwayne

July 21st, 2010
8:59 am

Yep, the KNIGHTS thing is silly. But, you pay your money, do what you want. I wonder how the players feel, or do they care.

ben

July 21st, 2010
9:03 am

what a strange end to a bezarre saga. As a person who’s researched Russia, I can tell you that it’s no paradise. Alcohol related deaths are the norm there. Education isn’t near what it is hear. And then, there are the kidnappings for profit. I have never met the man or his family, but I hope he keeps all that in mind as he picks where he’ll live and work.

Given all that we know about this situation, especially, that now we can see he didn’t want to sign here I have one question. Why wasn’t he traded a year or two ago. I keep reading that in truth Waddel is no idiot, so then why wasn’t he traded?

The team will survive this. No hockey isn’t big here, but hockey isn’t huge in a lot of places in the US. All the Thrashers need is a deep-pocketed investor and the crowds will get bigger. This town doesn’t support losers not named UGA. Also, as the fan base broadens slowly, I think the anger will lessen. We need to understand that this team is in a better position long-term w/o Kovy. His next four or five years will see a parade of goals and (phantom) assists. But after that, father time will catch up and the Thrashers will be stuck with an unmoveable contract.

kracker

July 21st, 2010
9:04 am

New players in Atlanta probably wonder why the heck are these people yelling during the national anthem? After they find out, then it’s just background noise to them.

glovesave29

July 21st, 2010
9:07 am

Baron – as a person who has lost family and friends in the defense of this nation, it sickens me that people show our anthem such disrespect.

Here’s an interesting quote from Lou about the rejected contract…

“I would agree we shouldn’t have these (types of contracts),” Lamoriello told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. When asked why he would sign a player to such a deal, he said, “You’d have to speak to ownership about that.”

Oooooh, the plot thickens……

Ken

July 21st, 2010
9:10 am

I totally agree with the yelling out during the national anthem. Not only is it totallly disrespectful, especially to veterans, but it is stupid and corny. As for Kovy, what does it say about a player that has scored more goals since 2001 than anyone, yet only 3 teams (LA, NJ and NYI) were interested in him? He doesnt play hockey the right way. He doesnt back check, play defense, has a huge career minus (plus/minus) rating and is not a natural leader in the locker room. That doesnt deserve 8.5mm a year. NJ are idiots if they sign him to a long term deal and Kovy and his agent are getting what greedy people deserve – a far less deal than was offered to him in Atlanta. Atlanta is much better off without him – we dodged a bullet when he turned down Waddell’s 12/100mm deal.

Badger Bob

July 21st, 2010
9:12 am

“They devise sleezy contracts to beat their own system, undermining the very mechanism put in place to control costs-they destabilize themselves” – exactly. Unfortunately, I expect Lou will just rework it to be a 15 year contract. That makes Kovy younger than Hossa at the contract expiration, so to void it then would be a double standard. The main problem is there is no standard. There is sure to be one in the next CBA.

While I’d love to see Grossman slapped for violating the intent of the CBA (actually love to see him imprisoned for it), that would be a hard case when there’s no real boundary established. Yes, they took it further than Pronger/Luongo/Hossa, but how far is too far? Expect the emergence of a very complicated contract evaluation formula, far worst that the offer sheet compensation or buyout provisions. The capgeek calculators wil get even more popular.

kracker

July 21st, 2010
9:13 am

Interesting, glovesave. I was hooting it up last night at “Sleazy” Lou. That term is probably unwarranted. I let the emotion get a little too high. Lou certainly had his part in the deal and how he really felt about the whole situation I will never know. But he did OK a deal to get Kovalchuk for an artificially low cap hit. That part he has to live with. That part is sleazy.

National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly

July 21st, 2010
9:20 am

“The Atlanta Thrashers vuvuzela ban has been rejected by the League as a circumvention of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Although the CBA in no way addresses vuvuzelas, air horns, or “collapsable bullhorns”, this ban clearly does not uphold the spirit of the CBA. The League will have no further comment on this matter pending further developments.”

SiCkOfThIs

July 21st, 2010
9:21 am

Kudos to the league for not letting Hockey turn out like basketball.

Badger Bob

July 21st, 2010
9:26 am

My guess of October 14 for Kovy signing day is alive again!!!

SiCkOfThIs

July 21st, 2010
9:31 am

…and yes, screaming KNIGHTS during the anthem IS stupid. Yes I was here when they played at the Omni and yes I was at the game when they won the Turner Cup but we’re in the big show now. Time to move on.

DB

July 21st, 2010
9:31 am

I’m going to be the contrarian and disagree about voiding the contract. Kovy’s contract is no worse than Pronger’s or Hossa’s yet the league let those pass. I have to imagine that the NHLPA will fight for Kovy. Although I think it does circumvent the cap, both sides are just twiddling their collective thumbs when the agreement needs tweaking.

Zombie Steve

July 21st, 2010
9:32 am

I don’t think yelling “Knights!” at Thrasher games is directly intended to be disrespectful to the anthem, our nation, or the people who’ve defended it.

It’s a celebration of Atlanta and it’s a celebration of what little hockey history we have as a city. Furthermore, it’s one of the few things that is truly unique to the Thrashers and Philips Arena.

I, for one, have no issue with it.

kracker

July 21st, 2010
9:42 am

I’m still seeing tweets and blogs referring to Kovy getting $550 per for the last 5 years of the nixed deal.

da' boomer

July 21st, 2010
9:44 am

The “Knights” thing is stupid…it’s the same morons that yell “get in the hole!” every time Tiger hits a shot. It’s annoying & disrespectful. I enjoyed the Knights, too…but it is a little retarded.

Glad to see The 3 Stooges – Lou, Jay & Ilya – get their collective hands slapped by Gary B.

Alan R.

July 21st, 2010
9:46 am

Badger Bob – the league stance on player agents involved in a circumvention is something I posted above. However, I am sure this all hinges on whether this whole thing stands, or if the Devils and Kovalchuk re-work the deal.

While Sara is right, in regards to what the Devils need to do to make this deal work, I am still wholly against the sort of deals that allows for the circumvention of the salary cap. The league could have avoided this mess by voiding unrealistic contracts as early as 2007 (Kipper, iirc). With precedence, its a very sticky situation for all involved.

glovesave29

July 21st, 2010
9:46 am

DB – I think Koy’s contract is different because…

Hossa cap number – $5.23M…highest salary – $7.9M…$2.67M difference
Pronger cap number – $4.91M…highest salary – $7.6M…$2.69M difference
Kovalchuk cap number – $6M – highest salary – $11M…$5.5M difference

Then add the final years of his contract are ak $550K.

NHL has to draw the line somewhere. I think this contract DEFINATELY violated the spirit of the CBA. I think Daly and Bettman were right to step in here.