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NHL union boss believes Hawks in clear over Hossa deal
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/18/2009 4:36 PM

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Paul Kelly, executive director of the NHL Players Association, said he would be surprised if the investigation of Marian Hossa's contract with the Blackhawks resulted in a ruling against the team.

"Based upon everything that we know, those contracts are perfectly valid and proper under the terms of the (collective bargaining agreement)," Kelly said, speaking Tuesday at the USA Hockey Olympic camp in Woodridge.

The NHL has been looking into the 12-year, $62.8 million deal Hossa signed, and whether the Hawks tried to circumvent the league's salary cap by the contract's length.

The long-term deal Chris Pronger signed in Philadelphia also is being investigated.

"To my knowledge it's still ongoing, but my understanding is the league would like to get that thing wrapped up in some form or another before the start of the season," Kelly said. "I don't see those contracts being redone, either the Hossa contract or the Pronger contract. I understand the league might not be happy about that kind of creative contract structuring, but credit to the teams involved and to the general managers in finding a way to get those deals done, which is completely consistent with the language of the CBA.

"It's been going on for years," Kelly said. "They let some of them go over the years and they registered these two contracts and then decided to start an investigation sometime later, which is a bit odd."