Phil Kessel

NHL Board of Governors unanimously approves Maple Leafs sale

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The NHL’s Board of Governors met in Las Vegas today. One of the first announcements might just rank as a formality: the Toronto Maple Leafs’ sale was unanimously approved.

In case you need a refresher, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board decided to sell its interest in the team to media company Rogers. It seemed like that story sort of went away for a while – probably because it was more or less a “done deal” – but now it looks like the ink is nearly dry.

It will be interesting to see if the Maple Leafs’ higher-level changes trickle down to the side that affects hockey a bit more directly. GM Brian Burke was more or less given a vote of confidence, yet Bob McKenzie subtly inserted a caveat that an ownership change could just alter that situation. The Maple Leafs hold the No. 5 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, so perhaps that will be “change” enough for the new owners.

For now, at least.

Senators select Kyle Turris as alternate captain

Chris Neil Kyle Turris Dustin Tokarski
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Kyle Turris is gearing up for his fifth season with the Ottawa Senators, but this campaign will be a little different.

Ottawa announced that Turris will be joining Chris Neil as one of the team’s alternate captains. Turris is assuming that role from Chris Phillips as the 37-year-old defenseman remains out indefinitely due to a back injury.

Since being acquired from the then Phoenix Coyotes in 2011, Turris has established himself as one of Ottawa’s top forwards. He tied for second in the team’s scoring race last season with 64 points in 82 contests and gelled with rookie linemate Mark Stone.

With the Senators favoring a youth movement, Turris actually stands out as one of the Senators’ more experienced players at the age of 26. He’s also set to play a big role with the Senators for years to come as he’s locked to an affordable $3.5 million annual cap hit through 2017-18.

Meanwhile defenseman Erik Karlsson is getting ready for his second season as the team’s captain.

Another Sabre hurt: Gionta (lower body) day-to-day

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On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.

Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.

The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.

There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.

Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.