I'm wondering whether Illitch is holding off on building a new arena until he can get the Pistons under his command and possibly more donation-$ with it for a joint arena between the Pistons and the Wings.
Words can't describe the mess that's over there. Every time I think, "nah, its being exaggerated a bit, they'll be fine," Chicago pulls another desperation deal to free up seemingly irrelevant slivers of cap space.
Had they not won the Cup I would feel sorry for them.
Honestly, the only way to really close this loophole would be to calculate the average retirement age of NHL players and make that the cutoff age for long-term contracts like this. Of course, calculating something like that is tough, because some players end up playing overseas once they retire, a la Hasek. It may just seem like an arbitrary age, but 40 seems to be the one that makes the most sense. There's absolutely no way Kovalchuk is playing until he's 44 and frankly, I don't even see him playing much past 40, if even that.
Or you could just say that all salaries count fully against the cap for their signed duration regardless of when a player retires.