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.

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    Jared Spurgeon shows he has hands like a surgeon (Video)

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    Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon has a pretty good knack for scoring goals, especially considering the fact that he doesn’t always take a ton of shots.

    Maybe Bruce Boudreau should consider asking him to fire away a little more often.

    You won’t see many prettier examples of hand-eye coordination than Spurgeon’s power-play goal from Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, which gave the Wild a 1-0 lead. Watch it in the video above.

    It’s almost impressive enough to justify rhyming his last name with surgeon. You know, theoretically.

    Video: Chris Kreider doesn’t just fight Cody Eakin, he hits him with his helmet

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    Tuesday’s Dallas Stars – New York Rangers almost seemed destined to be a wild affair, and so far, the two teams aren’t disappointing.

    For one thing, Chris Kreider and the Rangers were open about “not forgetting” Cody Eakin‘s hit on Henrik Lundqvist, something Eakin realized heading in. The Stars had their own irritations coming into this game, as they clearly weren’t happy with their loss to the Buffalo Sabres and their shaky play overall.

    So, yeah, plenty of reason for this to be a rowdy affair.

    Kreider is delivering in particular, with the most memorable moment being his strange fight with Eakin, which you can see above. SBNation’s Pat Iversen points out that Kreider probably should have been ejected for hitting Eakin with a piece of his equipment, a violation of Rule 53.

    As many know, Kreider has even more of a reputation for “interacting” with goalies, as he did once again with Antti Niemi:

    The Stars currently lead the game 5-3, so it’s been a busy one on the scoreboard, too.

    Video: Maple Leafs lose Morgan Rielly after fall into boards

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    Down 2-0 to the Buffalo Sabres, the Toronto Maple Leafs are off to a shaky start on Tuesday. Still, their concerns likely revolve the most around the health of defenseman Morgan Rielly.

    As you can see from the video above, the young Buds blueliner was shaken up by an awkward spill into the boards.

    It’s too early to know if he avoided injury or might miss some time, but there’s at least some concern that he might have aggravated an issue from before his NHL days:

    We’ll need to wait and see, but with his offensive skills and overall importance in mind (average just under 23 minutes a game this season, more or less in line with his breakthrough year in 2015-16), the Maple Leafs are crossing their fingers that this isn’t anything major.

    WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at Colorado Avalanche

    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 23:  Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks controls the puck as he turns against Tyson Barrie #4 of the Colorado Avalanche at the United Center on December 23, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Avalanche defeated the Blackhawks 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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    The Chicago Blackhawks need to put a tough weekend behind them; maybe the Colorado Avalanche are just what the doctor ordered.

    Colorado is clearly ranked last in the league, whether they believe they have some assets in the likes of Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog or not. Perhaps there will be a few scouts on hand to see how such potential Avs trade targets perform against a contending team?

    It’s rarely a dull night when the Blackhawks roll out talented players like Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin and Jonathan Toews – among others – so it should be a good time on NBCSN on Tuesday.

    You can watch online or via the NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream link.