Part 1 - Is This Contract Open to Review?
1) The NHLPA argued that the CBA does not expressly preclude contracts like the Kovalchuk deal. If it doesn't expressly rule out these contracts, the CBA wasn't circumvented.
2) While the NHL conceded that the CBA does not expressly preclude these types of deals, it argued for a "broader inquiry" and a more "comprehensive examination" of the deal. The language of the CBA, the NHL argued, is sufficiently broad that a comprehensive review of the contract is permitted and in fact warranted.
In this regard, Article 26(3) allows for a finding of circumvention if the intention of the parties was to circumvent the CBA OR if the net effect of the deal, intention aside, was to get around the CBA.
On top of the, the CBA also provides that a club or player can't enter into an agreement that is "designed to" defeat the CBA.
As well, the CBA precludes "understandings of any kind" that undermine the CBA.
— Eric Macramalla has a copy of the arbitrator's decision and analyzes it. They both seem to agree with my reading of the CBA's section 26.3 which basically reads that anything not covered explicitly who works only to circumvent what is covered in the CBA is not allowed. Personally, I am surprised that the league didn't use it to argue the contracts that is apparently retroactively reviewing (perfectly within the CBA) including the Hossa, Luongo, and Pronger deals. This could get very interesting