Quotes from Bloch
Everything in quotes is direct from Bloch's ruling:
Source: Arbitrator Rules in Favor of NHL in Kovalchuk Case - Craig Custance - The Grinder - Sporting News
"In this case, the record strongly supports the claim this contract is "intended to, or has the effect" of defeating or circumventing the Salary Cap provisions of the CBA.
The overall structure of this SPC reflects not so much the hope that Mr. Kovalchuk will be playing in those advanced years, but rather the expectation that he will not.
This is a long contract --17 years -- the longest in NHL history. That, in itself, poses no contractual problem, for the reasons discussed above. But Kovalchuk is 27 years old, and the agreement contemplates his playing until just short of his 44th birthday. That is not impossible, but it is, at the least, markedly rare. Currently, only one player in the League has played past 43and, over the past 20 years only 6 of some 3400 players have played to 42...."
...or as I said (link above) it's about 75 times less likely than a devastating asteroid strike in April, 2029.
"...the System Arbitrator here concludes the SPC terms themselves demonstrate this agreement "has the effect of defeating" the provisions of the CBA, with particular reference to the Team Payroll Range language.
Otherwise known as Article 50, for those of you keeping score at home. [UPDATE: People are already somehow saying the ruling was "no circumvention." No. "Having the effect of defeating provisions of the CBA" is the definition of circumvention.]
For these reasons, the finding is that the League has sustained its burden of demonstrating its actions in rejecting the agreement were in accordance with the bargained authority under Section 11.6(a)(i). Accordingly, the grievance protesting that action will be denied."