SBD/Issue 241/Leagues & Governing Bodies

League Notes

Devils Still Waiting To Hear From
NHL On New Kovalchuk Contract

In N.Y., Mark Everson reported the Devils again are waiting for the NHL to "approve their latest contract" for LW Ilya Kovalchuk. The deal, which was submitted Friday, reportedly is for 15 years and $100M. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in a statement said, "We are reviewing the new contract and will make a decision in the appropriate time frame as prescribed in the CBA" (N.Y. POST, 8/28). On Long Island, Steve Zipay noted the NHL "has until Tuesday to approve or reject" the deal. Should the league turn down the Devils, Kovalchuk "could bolt for SKA St. Petersburg of Russia's KHL ... or the NHLPA could appeal for another arbitration" (NEWSDAY, 8/28).

LEADING BY EXAMPLE:'s Wes Goldstein noted Donald Fehr is the "favored choice" to become the next NHLPA Exec Dir, and there is "no doubt Fehr would have the most immediate impact on the game as union leader with the start of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement getting closer." Fehr is a "skilled negotiator but a hard liner who made baseball players very rich during his 26-year tenure" as MLBPA Exec Dir. The NHL is "looking for a lot of givebacks in the next contract and that's not something Fehr generally does" (, 8/27). Mets RF and player rep Jeff Francoeur said, "When we used to have our meetings Don always used to talk about how the hockey players are basically getting screwed. When we saw the hockey players signed their deal, we knew they didn't get the best deal they could" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/30).

FINE CHINA: In DC, William Wan reports in a front-page piece that MLB officials "have adopted a guerrilla-warfare-type strategy" in developing baseball in China, including "identifying areas where baseball can gain ground at minimal cost and settling in for the long haul." MLB "finally got serious about China" around '02, and the "biggest push ... has come in the past three years with the establishment of the organization's Beijing office." MLB since then has "created and sent a traveling baseball amusement park around the country." Execs "declined to go into detail about costs but said the annual budget for operations in China is at the million-dollar level" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/30).

SAFETY IN NUMBERS: IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said it is "great" that drivers are developing an advisory association for the sport. Bernard: "They came to me before the big meeting, met with me in Watkins Glen and asked my opinion. I said, 'Look, I love it. Twenty-four minds are better than one.' When you get together, there are going to be some great things about it and some not such great things about it. What we have to do as a sport is to look at what is in the best interest for us going forward long term. At the same time, if you bring us great ideas, there’s no reason why we’d turn them down. If we can create better relationships with the drivers, it’s a win-win." He added, "The Bull Riders did the same thing and it worked very well" (, 8/29).

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