Now that the NHLPA has filed its grievance, here are the next steps:
1) Once an arbitrator has been appointed, the case will be heard and decided within 7 days, and 3 days later the official decision will be rendered. So in all, we are looking at 10 days, although it could be less (Section 26.13 of the CBA).
2) The parties can mutually agree to extend the deadlines so nothing is in stone from a timing perspective.
3) Wild card - the appointment of the arbitrator. Under Section 48.5(a) of the CBA, the parties have 60 days to agree on an arbitrator. The arbitrator "shall be an attorney with significant experience with matters requiring financial sophistication and business/accounting expertise and as an arbitrator or judge or other decider of contested proceedings." - Section 48.5(b).
This will need to be someone both sides feel is competent to do the job. If the parties cannot agree on an arbitrator, then they both nominate a Dean of a law or business school, and the two Deans then have 60 days to appoint an arbitrator.
So in theory, this case could take up to 4 months. However, this case going into November is highly unlikely. It is in the best interest of both the NHL and NHLPA to resolve this matter as quickly as possible. Having this drag on for months won't be seen as a positive for either side, and particularly for Kovalchuck, who I suspect just wants to play hockey.
If you want to hear my melliflous voice on this topic, please tune in to the Team 1200 today at 4pm.