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Arbitration of Ilya Kovalchuk's Contract Rejection Ended Today: A Summary So Far - In Lou We Trust
At no point whatsoever did this hearing become about whether there was circumvention. It has been reported as a rejected contract and all of the subsequent events as reported fall in line to what is called out in Article 11.6(a). Nowhere in Article 11 at all is Article 26 (P.S. No, the NHL can't just jump to Article 26; Article 26.10, 26.12, and 26.13(a) all have different requirements) or Article 50 called out for review; the decision in Article 11.6(a) boils down to two results: either the rejection is not valid and so the contract will be accepted as-is; or the NHL's rejection is valid, meaning the contract will be voided and Kovalchuk goes back to being an unrestricted free agent.

However, this is the CBA:

11.6 Rejection of SPCs and/or Offer Sheets; Subsequent Challenge and/or De-Registration of SPCs and/or Offer Sheets. (a) Rejection of SPCs and/or Offer Sheets. In the case of an SPC or an Offer Sheet, as the case may be, that is filed and rejected by the League, the following rules and procedures shall apply:

(i) If an SPC or an Offer Sheet is rejected: (A) because it results in the signing Club exceeding the Upper Limit, or (B) because it does not comply with the Maximum Player Salary or (C) because it is or involves a Circumvention of either the Club's Upper Limit or the Maximum Player Salary [...]

Article 50 contains the provisions regarding "the Club's Upper Limit." That's what it means when people say this is an Article 50 violation.

I'm not even sure what you get by arguing that "at no point whatsoever did this hearing become about whether there was circumvention." That has to be the strangest sentence written so far in this whole strange episode.

The whole thing is about whether there was a circumvention. What did you think it was about?