Kovalchuk deadline extended

The NHL and NHLPA have agreed to extend the league's deadline for accepting or rejecting the latest...

The NHL and NHLPA have agreed to extend the league's deadline for accepting or rejecting the latest contract between Ilya Kovalchuk and the New Jersey Devils. (MIKE SEGAR/Reuters)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:56 PM ET

The dragging out of the Ilya Kovalchuk contract saga by the NHL is starting to make LeBron James' handling of free agency seem quick and painless.

In the latest twist, the league and NHL Players' Association agreed to extend the deadline to accept or reject the New Jersey Devils' latest contract with the Russian forward until Friday at 5 p.m. ET.

"We have today been advised that the NHL and NHLPA have agreed to extend until Friday the decision on whether to approve or reject the latest contract between Ilya Kovalchuk and the New Jersey Devils," Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said in a statement.

"We remain confident that the terms of this contract comply, in every respect, with the CBA and meet both the NHL's concerns and the principles of arbitrator (Richard) Bloch's decision. We remain optimistic that this extension will result in an approval of the contract and that Ilya Kovalchuk will remain a valuable member of the Devils for the balance of his career."

The deal is reportedly for 15 years and $100 million, which comes to an annual cap hit of about $6.66 million.

If the NHL accepts the latest deal, the Devils will have to shed approximately $3 million in salary to fit under the cap before the season begins.

If the league rejects it, the summer-long rodeo will have to start all over again.


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