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KHL bends the rules to bring Maple Leafs’ Joffrey Lupul to Russia

Getty ImagesWhen the Kontinental Hockey League altered its rules to allow teams to sign players under contract to the NHL during the lockout, it set up some special eligibility requirements for those players.

Like having played at least 150 games in the NHL over the last three seasons; or having played in one of the last two IIHF world championships and/or Olympics; or having won a postseason NHL award; or having won or been a Stanley Cup Finalist.

Joffrey Lupul of the Toronto Maple Leafs is none of these things (especially that last one), as he's played just 143 games in the last three years.

But the forward wanted to sign with the KHL's Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, a team that plays in the Kharlamov Division and is perhaps hockey's highest Scrabble score.

What did the KHL do? Why, it bent its stringent rules to allow a point per game player in the NHL to sign with its team, of course!

From Michael Traikos of the National Post:

"They granted an exception because of his All-Star Game appearance," said Lupul's agent Peter Semonick, who added that his client's decision to sign with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg was based on wanting to play in a competitive environment.

"He missed the final month of last year and had back issues a couple of years ago and missed a lot of hockey," Semonick continued. "He wants to get in and stay in game shape, so for him it's not a matter of money, it's a matter of getting on the ice and trying to get back the time that he's lost."

So there you go. We look forward to seeing future KHL exceptions for NHL players like "once took a faceoff against Sergei Fedorov" and "oh, wait, you have your own hockey card?"

Meanwhile, we may have buried the lede here: Avtomobilist sucks.

They were the worst team in the League last season besides the Vityaz goon squad with only nine wins, and this season they have three regulation wins in 21 games.

We'll just go ahead and let you fill in your own "lateral move" jokes here.

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