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August 10 Tim Panaccio CSNPhilly.com
 
In the wake of the Ilya Kovalchuk ruling, if the NHL intends to contest Chris Pronger’s seven-year, $34.45 million contract extension that was signed last summer but kicks in this season, they’re likely in for a fierce fight from the Flyers.
 
Sources told CSNPhilly.com that league officials met with the Flyers in Philadelphia last fall to discuss whether the team had attempted to circumvent the CBA shortly after the league informed them that Pronger’s deal was one of several under additional review, even though Central Registry had previously approved it.
 
Nothing ever came of the Pronger investigation, sources said, and the Flyers considered the matter closed.
 
The language is complex, but the following excerpt from the CBA appears to support the Flyers’ claims about Pronger’s contract (“SPC” refers to “standard player contract.” Pronger’s contract is considered as such):

From the date which is seven (7) days prior to the commencement of the Regular Season, through the end of the League Year, the League shall approve and register, or reject, an SPC by no later than 5:00 p.m. New York time on the day following Central Registry’s receipt of such SPC (provided it was received by Central Registry by 5:00 p.m. New York time; SPCs received by Central Registry after 5:00 p.m. New York time will be deemed to have been received on the following day for purposes of this provision); at all other times the League shall have five (5) days from the day following Central Registry’s receipt of an SPC provided it was received by Central Registry by 5:00 p.m. New York time; SPCs received by Central Registry after 5:00 p.m. New York time will be deemed to have been received on the following day for purposes of this provision) to take such action. If no action is taken by the League, either to approve and register, or to reject, an SPC during the applicable time period set forth in the prior sentence, such SPC shall be deemed to be approved and registered.

However, the above selection seems to contradict another part of the CBA, Section 26.10 (d): (d) There shall be no limitation of time barring the investigation of a Circumvention by the Commissioner.

So NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman can revisit this issue as often as he likes, according to the CBA.

On Monday, arbitrator Richard Bloch voided New Jersey’s contract with Kovalchuk on the basis it circumvented the CBA. Furthermore, Bloch’s ruling cited the Pronger deal – among others – as being equally suspicious.
 
Suddenly, the Flyers are back on the radar because of Bloch.
 
“The contract with Chris Pronger that we registered with the National Hockey League is one we certainly feel was a compliant contract,” Flyers president Peter Luukko said Tuesday afternoon.
 
“The Pronger contract is structured differently than the Kovalchuk contract. And it’s been in effect well over a year.”
 
Luukko had no further comment, nor did the NHL.
 
Pronger’s new, seven-year deal begins now. The contract has been in the NHL’s hand for over a year without the league taking any action, even after meeting with club officials.
 
Sources say the Flyers view that as reason to believe the league is satisfied with Pronger’s deal, which has a new cap hit of $4.921 million. Pronger’s cap hit last season was $6.25 million on the final year of his Anaheim contract.
 
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