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A deal so complex — with ramifications so big?

You’ve probably seen this Helene Elliott update. If not, follow the link. Here’s my favorite bit:

The Kings […] have received a proposal from Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman. However, the proposed deal is so complex — and the ramifications so big from the Kings’ perspective — that they are not expected to respond for at least a day and possibly longer.

Okay. Now. Let’s all just hold on a minute. What kind of complexity are we talking about here? I am not at my usual computer, so I’m downloading the CBA as we speak, because I am going to cut/paste exactly what kind of “complexity” is allowed in an SPC. After the jump, giant block quote:

11.1 Standard Player’s Contract. The standard form SPC annexed hereto as Exhibit 1 will be the sole form of employment contract used for all Player signings after the execution of this Agreement. The standard form SPC may not be amended or modified in any manner whatsoever.

11.9 General.  (a) No SPC entered into after the Effective Date may provide for any payments not permitted by Article 50.

26.3 Circumventions. (e) No Club or Club Actor may provide, directly or indirectly, any Player or Player Actor, with anything of value from a Club or Club Actor other than his Player Salary and Bonuses […] For example, a Player is prohibited from entering into an agreement with a broadcasting company that is a Club Affiliated Entity, in which the Player agrees to host a weekly television show, for which he is to be compensated the fair market value of such services, as this would be something of value other than which the Player may properly receive through his SPC.

26.15 Examples of Circumvention. The following is a non-exhaustive list of activities that either constitute a Circumvention under this Article 26 or from which a Circumvention may be inferred: […]  (b) A Club has an agreement to pay money or anything else of value to a Player not expressly permitted by this Agreement, or makes such a payment to a Player.  (c) A Player enters into a sponsorship or endorsement arrangement with a local sponsor or entity with which his Club does business, in which the Player receives something of value that is disproportionate to (i.e., clearly in excess of) the fair market value of the services rendered by the Player on behalf of the sponsor or endorser. […] (e) A Club and a Player, during the Player’s active career, agree that upon the Player’s retirement, he will receive a sum of money for services to be provided to the Club after retirement.

50.2 Player Salary, Bonuses and Actual Club Salary. (a) “Player Salary.” The only allowable form of compensation permitted to be paid to a Player shall be Player Salary […] and Bonuses […]. No other type of compensation, in any form (except only for “Traditional Hockey Practices” as set forth below), shall be permitted […].   Other than Player Salary […] and Bonuses […] no Club may provide a Player with anything of value. In addition, a Club Affiliated Entity may not provide a Player with anything of value. To the extent that a Player receives anything of value from an entity that has a contractual relationship with any Club or Club Affiliated Entity […] for his intellectual property rights or for rendering any services for such entity, such value must be commensurate with (i.e., not clearly in excess of) fair market value.

A Player is free to enter into a sponsorship, endorsement, or other commercial arrangement with a local sponsor or entity with which his Club does business but which is not a Club Affiliated Entity, in which the Player receives something of value, provided the thing of value received is commensurate with (i.e., not clearly in excess of) the fair market value of the services rendered […].

This Article 50 does not prohibit certain “Traditional Hockey Practices,” pursuant to which Clubs […] have provided additional things of de minimis value to Players including, without limitation, parental travel to an Entry Level Player’s first NHL game (not to exceed $5,000), golf outings, father-son road trips, seasonal events and seasonal gifts (e.g., picnics and Christmas parties or gifts), and milestone gifts, so long as such milestone gifts do not exceed $7,500 (U.S.) in the aggregate per Player per League Year. Such Traditional Hockey Practices shall not be counted in a Club’s Upper Limit or Lower Limit, or against the Players’ Share.

Bottom line: unless Grossman has submitted a deal that involves elaborate deferred payment (and I can’t think of a way in which this would benefit the player), or he wants to stock up on golf outings and father-son road trips, I don’t see how there could be anything “so complex” that it would take days to mull over. A complex sequence of term years and vacillating salaries? Does Grossman have a convoluted plan that would result in more compensation for his client that would not be considered a circumvention of the CBA?

And “ramifications so big” … what the hell is that? They can’t give him part-ownership, that’s a circumvention. Does he want to change the name of the team to the Kovalchuks?

Actually, I think that would count as non-monetary compensation, too. WTF are we talking about here? (or, as with so much of this narrative, are we just talking about nothing?) Not a rhetorical question. I’m open to suggestions, and given the circumstances, the crazier the better.

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