Joffrey Lupul

Joffrey Lupul officially joins KHL’s last-place team


Joffrey Lupul has been given the green light to play for the KHL’s Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg despite some initial hurdles, according to R-Sport.

Lupul confirmed the signing on Tuesday, but he wasn’t eligible to join the KHL due to the rules the league implemented back in September.

In the end, Lupul will get to play in the KHL, but he’ll be joining a squad has no other NHL players and ranks dead last in the KHL with just 15 points in 23 games.

So why has Lupul agreed to play for such a dreadful team? No, it’s not because his tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs has made him more sympathetic to their plight. The answer is actually pretty simple: Most of the good teams were taken.

As Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nikolai Kulemin recently pointed out to R-Sport, most of the top-tier teams have already reached their limit of three locked-out players. So for guys like Lupul that have waited to sign with a KHL squad, they’ll have to settle for one of the remaining openings.

Of course, regardless of what team Lupul is on, this signing will give him the opportunity to play in the KHL and shake off the rust so that he’s in a better position if the lockout ends in time to salvage the 2012-13 season.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension

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Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.

Report: Kings, Richards nearing settlement

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The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.

You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:

If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.

The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.