Larry Brooks of the New York Post revealed late last night that the league would accept Ilya Kovalchuk's latest contract with the Devils on the condition that several new provisions be added to the existing CBA , including cap hits that only calculate up to a player reaching 40 years old, regardless of the actual length of the deal.

If the PA did not accept these terms by the 5 p.m. Friday deadline, then not only will Kovalchuk's contract with the Devils be rejected a second time, but Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo's 12-year, $64-million extension, which kicks in this season and has him earning a million in each of the final two years (when he would be 41 and 42), would be retroactively rejected, as would the 12-year, $63-million free-agent deal signed by Marian Hossa with the Hawks last summer.

Chicago, of course, won the Stanley Cup this season.

NHL deputy commissioner Billy Daly told several media outlets late last night that no ultimatum was issued to the PA, which is still reeling from the Aug. 9 arbitrator's ruling that confirmed the league's rejection of the first Kovalchuk contract. Former MLB union chief Donald Fehr has agreed to take over the PA, but there is still no official executive director.

So, as a few people pointed out in this piece I wrote before the arbitrator's ruling, the league has indeed thrown down the gauntlet to the players' association on the Kovalchuk issue, starting a war that won't end until a new CBA is drawn up for 2012 that includes strict limits on contract length and, quite possibly, a hard salary cap in the $40-million range with no ties to revenues.

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"There will never be another contract like the Kovalchuk one," a source told me during the reporting of that piece. "The league will make sure of that."

Apparently, they are trying to wipe the slate clean of any similar contracts, even after the fact.

Interestingly in Brooks' story is a line that states the league will allow Chris Pronger's seven-year, $34.45-million extension, which kicks in this season. The only guess here is that since it's a 35-and-over deal, the Flyers will be on the hook for a $4.92-million cap hit no matter what Pronger's doing in 2015, when he'll earn just $525,000 for each of the final two seasons.

But this is war.