"The NHLPA has filed a grievance disputing the NHL's rejection of the Standard Player Contract between the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk. Under the terms of the CBA, the NHLPA and Mr. Kovalchuk are entitled to an expedited resolution of this matter. The NHLPA will have no further comment until this matter has been resolved by an Arbitrator."
As we mentioned Monday morning, there is no "systems arbitrator" in place, so that's the next obstacle in this process: Finding someone both parties can agree upon. According to a source, both sides have to submit a list of at least three names, they need to be vetted and then one needs to be settled on.
This does not sound like a process whose mechanics are typically expedited. Especially when we're dealing with two sides that needed to shut down a season to work out a collective bargaining agreement. These guys can't even agree on what kind of donuts to serve at the hearing let alone on an arbitrator. If only there was a worthy candidate for NHL donut czar ...
Here's what NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement (via Fire & Ice):
“We have received formal notice that the NHLPA is grieving the league’s rejection of Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract with the New Jersey Devils,” Daly said in the statement. “Although there is no defined timetable at this point, we intend to work with the players’ association to ensure an expeditious resolution of this dispute. The league looks forward to the opportunity to establish its position before the arbitrator. We will have no further public comment pending completion of the process.”
For what it's worth, the Devils have finally taken down Kovalchuk advertising material from their website's front page, replacing him with an image of Zach Parise(notes) on their season-ticket ad. But T-shirts are available!