Devils clinch 13th straight playoff berth

Devs.jpgWith yesterday’s win over the Montreal Canadians, the New Jersey
Devils are in the playoffs for the 13th straight season. It’s also the
19th time in 20 seasons the Devils will be in the playoffs. Only the
Detroit Red Wings, who haven’t missed the postseason since 1990, have a
better run in that span.

Who’s been the most successful dynasty over the past two decades is
an argument for another day, but it’s still incredible to see the Devils
continue to succeed under the guiding hand of Lou Lamoriello.

“I’ve been here for all 13 of them and I’ve seen a lot of
guys come and go, but the attitude is the same,” Brodeur said. “It
starts from our boss upstairs with Lou and it goes and trickles down to
the guy that plays the least amount of minutes. We’ve always had that
attitude that the first step is making the playoffs and after that,
well, we try to go for bigger things.”

The Devils aren’t just getting into the playoffs, they’re doing it
with incredibly successful seasons year after year. They’re in a battle
with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Atlantic division lead and have a
chance to enter the postseason with the second seed in the East.

What
the Devils are concerned about is their recent success– or lack
thereof — once they have reached the playoffs. The Devils haven’t
reached the  conference finals since 2003, and have exited in the first
round in two straight seasons to lower ranked teams.

Finally, and a
bit unrelated, but is it really that big of a deal when Ilya Kovalchuk
passes off to teammate for an empty net goal and then gives him the puck
that marked his 700th point? Congrats to Brian Rolston, but let’s not
make too much of Kovy making a simple pass. It happens all the time in
hockey.

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    Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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    CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

    The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

    The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

    The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

    Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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    ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

    The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

    The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

    Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

    The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

    Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

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    TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

    The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

    “This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

    Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.

    Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

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    TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

    The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

    “Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

    The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

    Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.