Who is this above? Well, that's the real putz in this whole mess, apparently, Devils team owner Jeffrey Vanderbeek. You see, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello doesn't like these long-term contracts. While I, for one, think he's probably more supportive of them than he might seem, the point stands that Lou wants us to know it was the ownership's deal. And that falls on Mr. Vanderbeek.
As of today, the 17-year, $102 million dollar deal has been rejected by the Wheel of Justice that is the NHL, on the premise that it didn't believe that Kovalchuk would be playing until he was 44. Anyone who's paid attention to these mega-deals knows that the more-recent contracts to Zetterberg, Pronger, and Luongo (among others) have been approved on the premise that they would be playing into their 40s, so obviously there's little issue there.
So why did the Kovalchuk deal really get rejected? The Top 3...
3. Bettman's finally "awakening the giant within."
2. Wild night at The Cock Bar. "Reject" button sticky.
1. Didn't realize that Dean Lombardi's "You complete me" visit the night before was ripped off Jerry Maguire.
Promise me you'll take care of Jonathan Lipnicki...
Look, the reality is that the Kovalchuk signing was going to be a big deal, but it became a huge deal when the terms were disclosed. It brought a lot of unwanted attention even outside the league because the length was unprecedented (as was the Dipietro contract) and, when laid bare, the terms were as well. Yes, we saw similar structure to other lengthy deals, but seven years at-or-near league minimum? Come on.
I agree we shouldn't pin this one on Lou, as there's little doubt that James Vanderbeek's long-lost father is the more-likely culprit. That being said, let's hope that this becomes a case-in-point for the next CBA. If there is one.
Oh, and I'm still not too scared about Kovy being in the Atlantic.