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Dreger: NHL executives anxiously awaiting Kovalchuk decision

Darren Dreger

8/31/2010 7:21:04 PM

The outcome of the New Jersey Devils latest attempt to sign star forward Ilya Kovalchuk has many NHL executives anxiously waiting.

Without knowing the specifics of the contract rival managers are left to consider the speculation that reports Kovalchuk's latest contract offer to be in the range of 15 years and $100 million.

One NHL general manager doesn't believe for a second the league will allow this one to pass either, stating Lou Lamoriello, the Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk are simply trying to "disguise circumvention," adding,  "trying to hide the crime, makes this even worse."

Regardless, the NHL's dance with the Devils also has some teams wondering how the league will discipline New Jersey once Kovalchuk's case has been settled.

Sources say other teams expect some form of penalty, however the fact the arbitrator found no intent of circumvention while upholding the NHL's original contract rejection may indicate a less severe penalty, if any at all is considered.

A reduction in cap space or draft pick loss is also believed to be a possibility, in the event the league follows through with disciplinary action.