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So who saw that coming?

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For those of you who weren't around last night and are just starting to hear the news now, the NHL has rejected Ilya Kovlachuk's preposterous 17 year, $102M contract. They did so while citing that it was an attempt to circumvent the salary cap by adding on cheap years to the end of the contract while both the Devil's and Kovalchuk knew he would not be playing. You might remember that this was the same argument detractors of the Marian Hossa contract used last summer.  However, Sabres blogger (though he posts here more) Ubiquitous took at a look at the numbers and found that 24 players have played in the NHL at age 42; while only 8 (4 goalies) have played at age 44. Still a bit of a stretch for Hossa, but a HUGE stretch for Kovalchuk.

You've got to think that Lou Lamoriello's own comments may have been the tipping point in the NHL's decision:

...there is nothing that we have done wrong. This is within the rules. This is in the CBA. There are precedents that have been set. But I would agree we shouldn’t have these. But I’m also saying that because it’s legal and this is something that ownership felt comfortable doing for the right reasons...

If that isn't a self admission of guilt, then I don't know what is. I'm now a little glad that Brian Burke didn't sign Kovalchuk to an equivalent deal. Seeing as how we're the Leafs and all, instead of merely rejecting the contract we'd probably be docked a few draft picks and fined an ass ton of money.

Aside from the obvious hilarity of the contract's rejection; there was also the hilarity brought about by NHLer and Twitter user Paul Bissonnette. In a tweet that has since be deleted he said of the contract's rejection:

@PaulBizNasty kovalchuck’s gana have to give lap dances for 20 years instead of getting them now that he got rejected. sory communist. back to the soviet.

Funny? Yeah. Racist? No. Mean spirited and a bit of being a dick? Yeah.

Last night could end up being a night of two firsts. The first contract rejection under the new CBA, and the first case of the NHL disciplining a player for comments made via Twitter. Seriously, I can easily see Bissonnette getting fined over this. Expect to hear more on this in the coming days. What do you think about all this?

Links after the jump.

Where will the dominoes fall for the Leafs?

With Gagne, and maybe Kovalchuk, gone; who's left on the table?

MLHS had early rumors about the NHL's dislike of the Kovalchuk contract

And a pretty good explanation of the confusing 100% and 50% contract rules.

The NHL's list of unbreakable records

Ain't nobody going to best Orr's +/-.

The Leafs are headed to London

Ontario for their 2010 Rookie camp.

LeafsHQ wants everybody to just relax

Fuck it! Let's burn this motherfucker to the ground!

Frozen Leafs with their update on all things Kaberle

Some possible trading partners are mentioned; nothing new.