The NHL is investigating Marian Hossa's 12-year, $62.8 million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The league confirmed yesterday that it is looking into the dealbut would have no further comment until the investigation is completed.

The Ottawa Sun first reported Thursday that the league is studying whether the contract circumvents the salary cap and the collective bargaining agreement.

"The Chicago Blackhawks vehemently dispute any implication that the team has in any way violated the collective bargaining agreement or had any intention whatsoever to circumvent the salary cap," the team said in a statement. "The Marian Hossa contract is a legitimate contract that was approved by the NHL. We are not at all concerned by the investigation and are confident the NHL will conclude that there is absolutely no evidence that the Blackhawks intended to circumvent the salary cap."

Hossa's contract results in a $5.23 million cap hit each year over the length of the deal, according to the report. That's despite a lot of the money being paid early in the contract with Hossa making $7.9 million annually for the first 7 years before his salary tapers off.

The 30-year-old, who scored 40 goals last season with the Detroit Red Wings, is expected to miss the beginning of the season after having surgery on a shoulder.


* A judge has ruled that most of the documents detailing talks between Glendale, Ariz., officials and bidders for the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes will remain sealed. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Edward Burke said that only 34 of the 322 pages of documents must be made public.

The Goldwater Institute, a conservative watchdog group, has been pressing in court to open all 322 pages of documents, claiming taxpayers should know whether Glendale will offer money as a deal-sweetener with a new Coyotes owner to keep the NHL team playing at the city-owned arena.

Glendale officials have said such incentives aren't on the table and the public will be able to review any deal before it goes to the City Council for a vote.

* The New Jersey Devils have signed eight players to two-way contracts: goaltenders Gerald Coleman and Jeff Lerg, defenseman Rob Davison, and forwards Stephen Gionta, Kyle Kucharski, Brad Mills, Jeff Prough and Ben Walter.