Despite reports to the contrary, still no agreement between NHL and KHL

garybettman4.jpgSometimes playing the rumor game in the NHL can get interesting when parties attached to the situation are on different continents. Making things a bit less interesting is that the rumors this time have to deal with bureaucratic dealings and contracts between the NHL and KHL. Earlier today, USA Today’s Kevin Allen tweeted that the NHL and KHL had reached an agreement to respect each others contracts with players.

As it is, the NHL and KHL don’t have a transfer agreement worked out with each other, so bridging this gap would be a step in the right direction to provide detente between the competing leagues. As stories like this tend to go, not all is as it initially appeared. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman cleared things up saying that it is business as usual between the two leagues and there was nothing to announce.

“There’s no agreement,” Bettman told The Canadian Press in an interview. “(Deputy commissioner) Bill Daly confirmed in writing what our practice has been — namely, we respect their contracts and we expect them to respect ours.

“There’s no transfer agreement so we don’t have the same relationship with the KHL that we have with the Swedes or the Finns or the Czechs.”

While the NHL and KHL don’t have the same sort of working agreement together, it’s not at the “Cold War” level of problems the way it once seemed to be. After all, with the Carolina Hurricanes playing against SKA St. Petersburg in an exhibition game today, there’s signs that things are improving. They’re not improved enough to get Gary Bettman and KHL president Alexander Medvedev at the negotiation table, but any improvement is better than what we’ve seen in recent years between the two sides.

Sure the NHL is ticked about losing handfuls of players to the Russian league, but with how the job market in the NHL has been this year, you can understand why the KHL comes as a helpful option for some players that want to remain in professional hockey. If you’re thinking the KHL has a strong position against the NHL, think again. The money in the NHL is better and every team has stability behind it. The same can’t be said of all the teams in the KHL.

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.