Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Kovalchuk hearing: The top secret transcript

Lou Lamoriello in happier times.
NHL arbitrator Richard Bloch announced his decision in the Ilya Kovalchuk case yesterday, ruling that Kovalchuk's controversial 17-year contract with the Devils is null and void.

But while the decision itself was made public, the details of last week's hearings were not. Until now.

My spies were in attendance for one session of the hearing, and recorded a complete transcript. I'm republishing it below so that NHL fans can understand the case that Bloch was dealing with, and judge for themselves whether justice was done.

(Scene: a courtroom. Richard Bloch is presiding, with various other NHL personnel on hand. Several NHL stars are sitting in a small waiting area in the back of the room.)

Bloch: OK everyone, let's get started. In this morning's session we heard from several league officials. Gary Bettman testified about the discretionary powers available to him as commissioner, Bill Daly explained his interpretation of the CBA, and Lou Lamoriello threw several jars of jam at my head.

Lamoriello: It slipped out of my hand.


Lamoriello: Fifteen times.

Bloch: Anyway, this afternoon we'll be hearing testimony from various NHL players. The first to take the stand will be Ilya Kovalchuk. Let's get the biggest question out of the way first: Ilya, do you really intend to play the entire length of this contract?

Kovalchuk: First of all, I just want to say how disappointed I am that my integrity is being called into question here. Yes, of course I plan to play through the end of this contract. And in fact, I have every intention of playing well beyond that.

Bloch: Wow. Seriously?

Kovalchuk: Of course. Plenty of guys play past the age of 34.

Bloch: Um… Ilya? You're 27 years old and you signed a 17-year contract.

Kovalchuk: Exactly. So 27 plus 17 is... hold on... carry the one, and... oh. Hey, wait a second. Oh man.

Bloch: ...

Kovalchuk: Seriously, Lou? You actually thought anyone would buy this?

Bloch: Incoming.

(A jar of grape jam smashes against the wall behind Kovalchuk's head.)

Bloch: Thanks for your testimony Ilya. You may step down.

Kovalchuk (doing an old man voice): Hey, it's me, 44-year-old Ilya Kovalchuk. When does the game start? I want to make sure my grandchildren have time to feed me my pre-game meal of mashed bananas.

Bloch: That will be all, Ilya. We'll now begin hearing testimony from other NHLers who have signed similar deals which have been approved by the league. Our first player will be, let's see... Oh no.

(The sound of smashing windows and car alarms can be heard from outside.)

Bloch (into intercom): Security, we have a Code Orange.

(A chainsaw slashes through the wall, carving out a hole through which a figure emerges.)

Chris Pronger: Boo-yah!

Bloch: OK, let's get this over with. Chris, you signed a seven-year extension when you were already 35 years old. Why should we believe that you'll still be playing when that contract ends?

Pronger: Well, keep in mind that I've never relied on skills that fade with age, like speed or hand-eye coordination. My game is based on abilities that tend to remain consistent over time.

Bloch: Size? Positioning? Defensive awareness?

Pronger: Elbowing people in the head when they're not looking.

Bloch: Of course.

Pronger: Hey, is this going to take much longer? I haven't slashed anyone in the throat in like 15 minutes, and I'm starting to get the shakes.

Bloch: I think you're all done. Our next player to testify will be Islanders' goalie Rick DiPietro. Thanks for joining us, Rick.

DiPietro: No problem.

Bloch: Now Rick, your 15-year contract was the longest in league history when it was signed. Can you explain the process that lead to the deal?

DiPietro (now slumped over in chair):

Lamoriello: Um, I think he's unconscious.

Bloch: From sitting down? Wow, he really is injury prone.

Lamoriello: No, actually while you were talking Pronger ran over and elbowed him in the head.

Pronger: Boo-yah!

Kovalchuk (still doing old man voice): Dangnabbit, Pronger!

Bloch: OK everyone, let's settle down. We have several more players to hear from. In fact, as I look over into the waiting area I see that… Oh for the love of…

(In the waiting area, Marian Hossa, Mike Richards, Roberto Luongo and Henrik Zetterbeg are laying in a pile of twisted limbs. There is blood on the ceiling. The only movement is from a dazed Alexander Ovechkin, whose attempt to commando crawl to the exit is cut short when he's hit in the temple with a jar of strawberry jam.)

Lamoriello: Boo-yah!

(Pronger and Lamoriello high five.)

Bloch: OK, it's time for my decision. I'd like to render my ruling based on the details of the CBA, but my copy has jam stains all over it. I'd look through past rulings for precedents, but Chris Pronger just set my law library on fire. And I'd flip a coin, but Ilya Kovalchuk took my spare change and is mailing it to his imaginary grandchildren.

Kovalchuk (shaking fist): Get off my lawn!

Bloch: So here's my ruling: You people are lunatics. The contract is voided. And if I ever see any of you again, I'm calling the police. This hearing is adjourned.


  1. Looks like DGB is relying more on his off-speed stuff, less on his fastball since joining the NP staff. Forget about the curveball DGB, give'em the heater!

  2. Probably the worst DGB I've read to date, 100% unfunny. Step up your game man.

  3. Oh man. Screw what those other people said, I was actually laughing out loud. That was fantastic.

  4. Maybe i'm missing something. But i don't get the whole bit about the jam..

  5. The idea of Pronger taking a chainsaw to Richards and Luongo is delicious.

  6. I thought very funny, but could have used a little more subtle flair, and at least another page!

    BOO YAH!

  7. Started out strong, but the finish was somewhat weak.

    So it was a front-loaded article.

    Better hope the National Post doesn't void your contract, dude

  8. This was, without a doubt, the funniest thing I've read on DGB. Every time Pronger said "Boo-Yah" I was crying with laughter...and I'm a Flyers fan. Smart-ass, old-man Ilya was also a delight. Well done sir.

  9. @davesworldblog: You're new here! Welcome!

  10. Started out strong, but the finish was somewhat weak.

    True. It looks like you you just ran out of ideas somewhere in the middle of the post.

    Loved the Lou-Ilya high-five though.

  11. Great entry. The caption made me laugh out loud. Well done DGB!

  12. That was amazing. Laughing so hard I'm crying.

  13. This is f-in hillarious. So inventive and original. Gold, Jerry, Gold!

  14. The line about Kovalchuk mailing the spare change to his imaginary grandchildren brought me to tears.
    Well done, DGB

  15. "..from sitting down? He really is injury prone."


    Now I have to clean up the coffee I spit up.

  16. I loved it. It was 'different' in a way that I couldn't explain. Wasn't the best, but nowhere near un-funny.

  17. i enjoyed it very much so. read it in NP, thought it was funny. might be aesthetics/nostalgia - i find reading it here funnier for some reason. good work!

  18. I too, thought it was funny stuff. Feels like reading a BlogeSalming script.


  19. Frigg man! They did it again - how can they not go with the pic of Uncle Lou "in happier times"?!?

    DP slumped over was genius - should have left it alone without the Pronger input.

  20. 'get off my lawn' made me LOL... and I NEVER lol.

    bravo DGB, bravo

  21. oh, and screw the haters, this was awesome!!!

  22. Eh, it looked like you were stretching for material quite a few times. And what you do present doesn't really make a lot of sense.

    For instance, why would Lamoriello (sic?) be throwing jam when reports indicate he wasn't in favor of the Kovalchuk contract in the first place. Now if it was the Devils owner throwing the jars, that would make more sense.

    And did you really have to drag Ovie into this? He does have a long term deal but it is definitely not a blatant cap dodge like the Kovalchuk, Hossa, Pronger and Luongo deals.

    I apologize for being nit-picky like this. The thing is, I love your stuff, it's terrific and one of the things that I love so much about is how realistic it is or how it bitingly catches a player. I laughed for about five straight minutes when I saw the Wade Redden Amazon screen grab you crafted.

    Please don't write me off as a hater, I love your stuff and I hope you keep up the good work.

  23. @Shaun...

    I don't submit photos/captions to the Post. They do their own thing (and have access to way better material). I usually do the DGB photo at the last minute.


    There seem to be way more anonymous commenters than usual lately. I'm fine with that since I know it can be a pain to sign-in, especially if you don't have a google account. But don't forget you can also just enter your name (use the "name/url" option) if you prefer.

  24. To Anonymous from 2:17pm:

    I don't recall the Devils owner throwing jars of jam before... so that wouldn't make sense at all. One thing about DGB is his uncanny ability to reference past events and mix it in perfectly with random humour.

    I apologize for being nit-picky like this. The thing is, I love your stuff, it's terrific and one of the things that I love so much about is how realistic it is or how it bitingly catches a blog.

    To DGB: Loved it!

  25. I definitely enjoyed that, you haven't had one of these scripted transcripts in quite some time. too short tho lol

  26. I've been reading DGB for almost a year now. You have been great, and I have loved almost everything you have posted. However, since you started writing with the NP, you seem to be trying to force new material. Since joining up with the NP, you have been less and less funny with every post and I think this may have been the worst post you have ever had.

    However, with that said, your worst post is still better than 99% of peoples best posts. You still made me laugh at times in this post, but you can definitely do better.

  27. Toss out the critics.

    No sense of humour at all.

    This was a great post DGB!!

  28. One of your finest, DGB. Screw the haters. Laughed out loud many times on this one.

  29. Yeah, don't listen to the Devil fan who posted 20 posts as Anonymous: this was hilarious.

  30. Loved it, DGB! Keep it up!


  31. You had me at "Dangnabbit, Pronger".


  33. wow!! no need to nitpick people, that was a pretty good article, i personally liked it.

  34. The idea of anyone saying "dangnabbit Pronger" in an old man's voice just cracks me up. Thanks for the laugh!

  35. I thought I'd finally give some love in alphabetical form after seeing some of these comments... I check your site for updates pretty much everyday, and I know a number of my friends do the same. Absolutely love it, keep it up.

  36. And did you really have to drag Ovie into this? He does have a long term deal but it is definitely not a blatant cap dodge like the Kovalchuk, Hossa, Pronger and Luongo deals.


    Isn't that why he was just knocked over by Lamoriello? And DiPietro was just elbowed?

    Both of their contracts aren't going against the CBA. I mean, yeah, DiPietro's contract goes against common sense, but so does a lot of people, including Boogard.

    I think these two got it easy.

  37. OHMIGAWD. This is one of the best posts you've ever made. Epic. Win. I have tears coming out of my eyes.

  38. Absolutely hilarious. As a Penguins fan I especially appreciated the cracks at Pronger. Well done!

  39. Hilarious stuff. You guys dont remember Lou getting angry and throwing Marty's jam across the room? Jeez

  40. Outstanding! One of your best posts! For the rest of the day, the words "dagnabbit Pronger" and "Boo-yah!" will be continuously running through my head. Thanks for the laughs.


    I died from laughter, BOO YAH!

  42. Might have been better if it was Patrick Kane who stole the spare change at the end.

  43. Might have been better if it was Patrick Kane who stole the spare change at the end.


    Clearly Kane is one of Kovalchuk's grandchildren.


    Or not.

  44. Damnit DGB... Tried reading this quietly while my wife was working, and kept having to fight down laughs. Lost that battle a few times too.

    I actually like this as one of your finer efforts.

  45. ....I'm lost with the jam throwing as well...

  46. If you have no sense of humor don't read. BOO-YAH!

  47. If you don't understand the jam thing...


  48. Terrific piece - Love the Pronger stuff, this was hysterical.


  49. I am a critic. I have no sense of humour. My favourite past times are jumping up and down in one place, and reading humour blogs, then criticising the blogger.

    I am expexially fond of good grammar.

    I insist upon telling you: I found intense pleasure through the above demonstration of grammatical machismo.

  50. Best post of the year!!!!! People looking at me on the train laughing out loud. Keep the godo staff Sean

  51. Personally, thought it was a little more surreal than your average post. When Pronger kept up the chainsaw bit after leaving and Kovalchuk staying in the old man voice made it a little bit weirder than normal. You went back to "normal" with your remaining free agents guide though.

  52. I just thought that since minimum salary is going to increase, you probably could have made a joke that Hossa needs to play under minimum salary 10 years from now so that the Hawks will be able to fit under the cap during the next time they decide to make a cup run.

  53. I have no idea what these people are talking about. This is the absolute funniest thing I have ever read on here. Even beats the Fake Brian Burke twitter. Sooo funny. Everytime Pronger said 'Booyah!' I dieeddd. And Kovy's old man comments were brilliant. Soo fantastic.

  54. Fantastic work. Pronger appears to have become a living incarnation of Loki. I love it.

  55. This was one of my all time favorite DGB posts, went back to read it this morning after Kovalchuk "retired" at the age of 30 to go play for all the money in Russia.
    Still made me almost cry from laughing almost 3 years later.
    I miss Pronger as the arch-villian of the NHL. Dangnabbit Pronger. (Shakes Fist)