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Savard's agent discusses contract issues, commissioner

TSN.ca Staff

9/3/2010 12:15:54 AM

Upset that the NHL has hinted at the possibility of revoking the contract that his client Marc Savard signed with the Boston Bruins, agent Larry Kelly discussed his feelings on the situation in an interview with Ottawa radio station the TEAM 1200.

Regarding changes that would help the CBA situation in general, Kelly said he'd like to see some systemic changes, starting at the top.

"I'd really like to see a true commissioner style, someone who has the best interest of the game in mind rather than the situation they have now," Kelly told the TEAM. "(Gary) Bettman is (like) the president of the league and he clearly is on the owners' side on every issue. I really think it should be a commissioner. With a commissioner you have somebody who is totally independent and I think it would be a much less acrimonious situation."

Following on the heels of the league's rejection of the 17-year, $102 million contract Ilya Kovalchuk signed with the Devils, the NHL is in the process of reviewing the existing contracts of four players (Savard, the Flyers' Chris Pronger, the Blackhawks' Marian Hossa and the Canucks' Roberto Luongo) to determine if the teams involved front-loaded the contracts to deliberately circumvent the collective bargaining agreement. 

Under these circumstances the teams involved could potentially buy out the contracts at a much less punitive financial hit near the tail end of the deals.  It is also believed by some that the players involved have no intention of completing the contracts and would likely retire before they enter the final years at near minimum salary.

Kelly said he didn't expect the NHL to do anything about the Savard's deal.  "We feel that our contract is fine and that in complies with the Collective Bargain Agreement in all respects," Kelly said. 

He did note that if the league did something negative with the Savard deal, it would be a very serious situation. "You can imagine the lawsuit that would ensue," Kelly said.

Savard has been at the centre of a great deal of trade speculation this summer as the Bruins attempt to get under the salary cap prior to the start of the season.  While he missed half the season with knee and concussion issues, he was able to score 10 goals and add 23 assists in 41 games last year.