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Leafs race home to face the Kraken

And the consequences of cutting ties with Russia.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Seattle Kraken Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images

Check the front page for the recap if you missed it.

As we get ready for the second half of the back-to-back today, it’s time for more serious business than a game against the sea monsters.

Seravalli: NHL officially severs ties, communication with Russia’s KHL

Yesterday, Dailyl Faceoff reported that Bill Daly had sent a memo to all NHL teams, which they had a copy off. The NHL has suspended the Memorandum of Understanding they had with the KHL — note: the NHL does not have a formal transfer agreement with Russia.

In a memo distributed to GMs on Monday, obtained by Daily Faceoff, the NHL instructed its teams to “immediately cease all dealings [direct or indirect] with the KHL and KHL Clubs [and all representatives of both], as well as with player agents who are based in and continue to do business in Russia.”

The suspension of the NHL’s MOU with the KHL also resulted in the “cessation of communication between our respective personnel.”

If your thoughts immediately went to Rodion Amirov, you’re not alone in that. The article makes clear that NHL teams are still allowed to speak to their drafted or signed players and their North American agents. Many agents who routinely represent Russians are not allowed to operate in Russia. This means the Maple Leafs will not be disrupted from taking part in Amirov’s cancer treatment in Germany.

As for their other prospects, they can, for example, speak to Artur Akhtyamov, but they can’t co-ordinate his training with his team either in the KHL or VHL.

What is going to make signing free agents slightly tricky is that teams are now required to go through the NHL’s Central Registry — the people who sign off on all contracts — in advance to determine if a Russian player is actually free from his KHL contracts and able to sign.

Underlying all of this is a fear, reported by Chris Johnston today as well, that GMs have that they will not be able to get their Russian players to North America and get them visas for next season. Teams are mulling over their options for the upcoming draft.

In a question and answer segment yesterday, Johnston wrote:

Is there any concern that the visas for Russian players in the #NHL could be in jeopardy?

@KeninYHZ

This is a little beyond my pay grade, but I can tell you that there is some level of concern inside NHL front offices about this possibility. Apparently there’s been unofficial word from government officials stating as much. I can’t see it affecting anything for this current NHL season, but it will be something to watch in the fall as we ramp up to the next one.

This situation is impossible to predict, and any decisions teams or the NHL makes now will have to be revisited as things develop. But an unprovoked invasion of another country is not really the same as the Cold War, which they have experience with. The NHL is faced again with a changing landscape, as they were with Covid.

In other news:

Suspension of 5 games for a slur towards a Russian player.

I had to ask who this is. So likely it’s not a bad choice.

I don’t understand the point of the Vegas-style shield shape. Also, look at the variation in team colours there in the second image. So creative, NHL.

The sale of the Toronto Six is official (this was discussed on HNIC):

Jaromir Jagr wants to play the last game between his team and the Prague team in the big O2 arena in Prague to raise money for Ukrainian relief:

Going to show you the whole image:

When I say that there’s a lot of players who looked legit at 25, 25 or 27 and then fizzled, I’m basing that on anecdotes from looking players up over a lot of years. This brings home how true it is, though. Be careful how you pay UFAs, in other words.

Back to Excited Episode 171: Matthews for Hart - Pension Plan Puppets
We chat about the Hart nominees, including the Leafs’ sniper

Happy Tuesday, everyone. See you tonight for another Leafs game.