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NHL roundup: Top pick suspended by KHL

The SportsXchange

Nail Yakupov, the No. 1 overall pick in the June draft, has been suspended from playing in the KHL, pending an IIHF investigation into his transfer.

The league said Wednesday said the 18-year-old, who has played two games for his hometown Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk since joining the team last Thursday, can't play again until he receives approval from the International Ice Hockey Federation.

The IIHF said Yakupov played in those games without an approved transfer card. Under IIHF rules, a transfer card (ITC) must be signed by the original country, the new country and the player.

"The ITC was not signed by Hockey Canada and was thus not approved by the IIHF," the IIHF said in a statement. "Playing without an approved ITC following an international transfer request is a breach of IIHF transfer regulations. At this time, being that Hockey Canada did not approve Nail Yakupov's ITC, his case is in appeal procedures. Until appeal procedures are complete and a decision regarding his transfer to Russia is made, an ITC will not be approved or denied by the IIHF."

The Russian Hockey Federation must respond to Hockey Canada's appeal by Oct. 1.

---Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson has agreed to a month-to-month contract with Jokerit of SM-liiga, the team announced Wednesday.

Karlsson, the 2011-12 Norris Trophy winner, is expected to debut with his new team on Saturday.

The 22-year-old had 19 goals and 59 assists in 81 games last season with the Senators.

---The St. Louis Blues have laid off "just under 20" front-office workers last week, a club executive confirmed Tuesday to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The remaining 75 employees were forced to accept pay cuts, and, in some cases, switch to four-day workweeks.

The layoffs, the result of the NHL lockout, were spread across different departments, chief operating officer Bruce Affleck told the paper.

The Blues aren't the first team to reduce staff. The Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers also have laid off workers, while employees at the league office in New York have been reduced to four-day weeks.

The NHL has canceled exhibition games through Sunday. The two sides haven't met formally since Sept. 12. Talks are scheduled to resume Friday.
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