Gary Bettman addressed the media after owners unanimously ratified the tentative CBA at Wednesday’s Board of Governors meeting. Needless to say, he was non-committal when asked about players possibly violating their contracts by participating in the KHL All-Star game after the union (likely) approves the CBA on Saturday.
Bettman was asked if Kovy would be in violation if he played in KHL All-Star Game. “We’ll deal with that if it happens.”
— Rich Chere (@Ledger_NJDevils) January 9, 2013
Consider it a not-so-subtle shot at the KHL and Russian officials. According to his agent, Pavel Datsyuk got clearance from the Red Wings to participate in the game, but we haven’t seen anything close to that from the Devils or Kovalchuk’s reps. Also, don’t underestimate how much this situation ties into future negotiations regarding player participation in the Olympics. It’s no secret how important the Sochi games are to Russian players and the NHL is obviously not above playing hardball if it’s backed up against a wall by the KHL.