Ilya Kovalchuk and Devils have a deal

The Devils’ persistence and patience paid off — for them and Ilya Kovalchuk.

The NHL finally agreed Friday to approve the 15-year, $100 million contract Kovalchuk signed with the Devils eight days ago, according to multiple sources. The decision came after lengthy negotiations between the league and the NHL Players’ Association resulted in an amendment to the collective bargaining agreement that outlines new guidelines for long-term contracts.

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