That's what I thought too, that a new deal could be created to avoid the arbitration...in fact the rule I posted seems to suggest it. But I agree with you, that since I haven't heard any sportswriters mention the clause I posted it doesn't apply for some reason.
If I were representing the Devils organization, I wouldn't even think of suggesting a new deal to Kovalchuk. It's his job to come back and say - Look, can we re-structure this thing and see what happens?
Even if I'd want to give the NHL the big fvck you and fight to the death, it's all about what Kovalchuk wants, not the organization, THAT is what good faith negotiating is about. The whole claim is that the Devils were NOT negotiating in good faith. They were though - it's always been in Kovalchuk's court. That's one of the reason I like that he is on record as saying he wanted 17 years because it's his number - his dad died on the 17th. It has genuine significance to him. Even if it's a line it was HIS call not the organizations therefore NOT a bad-faith request on NJ's part.
Basically bottom line: If the Devils look to do anything other than follow Kovalchuk's lead it's proof positive of bad faith negotiation - if not before the rejection then it most certainly would be after the fact, And that is NOT the Devils way.
Edited by Pepperkorn, 22 July 2010 - 08:05 AM.