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NHL extends decision on Ilya Kovalchuk's contract to Friday evening

NEW YORK, - The NHL is taking a bit more time to decide whether it will approve Ilya Kovalchuk's latest contract with the New Jersey Devils.

The league and NHL Players' Association announced Wednesday that the deadline for a ruling has been extended to 5 p.m. ET on Friday.

The Devils are seeking approval on a US$100-million, 15-year contract with the Russian winger.

It was submitted to the league last Friday.

Prior to that, the NHL rejected a front-loaded US$102-million, 17-year deal between the sides because it was deemed to circumvent the league's salary cap.

An independent arbitrator upheld that decision.

"We remain confident that the terms of this contract comply, in every respect, with the CBA and meet both the NHL's concerns and the principles of arbitrator Bloch's decision," Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said in a statement Wednesday. "We remain optimistic that this extension will result in an approval of the contract and that Ilya Kovalchuk will remain a valuable member of the Devils for the balance of his career."

Lamoriello added that the team would have no further comment on the issue until it is resolved.

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