The NHL Experts blog is a collaboration of voices from around and inside the game of hockey. With viewpoints ranging from the press box to the front office, the Experts blog will offer unique perspectives through the playoffs to keep readers informed of significant storylines in all aspects of the game.
The 2010-2011 NHL season is in the books. But before we look ahead to next year, let's pause to take a look back on 10 moments and storylines that defined this one.
Five weeks after rejecting Ilya Kovalchuk's 17-year, $102 million contract with the New Jersey Devils, the NHL approved a revised 15-year, $100 million deal. In the process, the league reached a new agreement with the NHL Players' Association about long-term contracts, effectively putting a nix on heavily front-loaded deals that circumvent the salary cap. However, the new rules would only apply to contracts of five years or longer executed after Sept. 4, 2010, and as part of the amendment the league agreed to stop investigating the suspect contracts of Chris Pronger, Roberto Luongo, Marc Savard and Marian Hossa. Think about this, folks: If Luongo's 12-year, $64 Million contract had been voided and a shorter deal been reached, would Canucks coach Alain Vigneault have felt so compelled to stand by his beleaguered goaltender in the Stanley Cup finals? Of course, we can't say for sure, but it's certainly something to ponder.