Chris Mason's comments don't faze teammates

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Mason.jpgIt’s normal for a team’s captain or locker room leader to speak out
about his team’s performance or effort after a disappointing loss. When
it’s the goaltender that calls out his teammates — well, that’s a bit
more rare.

The St. Louis Blues surrendered yet another third period to the
Nashville Predators on Thursday, and wasn’t happy about the players in
front him.
Per Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
, here is what
Mason had to say after the game:

“I’m definitely not going to single anybody out, but some
guys showed up and worked as hard as they could and some guys didn’t,”
Mason said. “When you’re in a desperate situation like we are, we need
everybody to come and compete, and we didn’t have that.”

Nothing
you can really fault Mason with here. While it’s not normal for a
goaltender to call out his teammates, Mason was justified in this case.
Even his teammates agree.

“Definitely,” he said. “Mase
made some big saves when we needed them. He
was there; he was pretty solid. There were some times, some
opportunities, we didn’t battle hard enough. He’s a guy that battles
every night. He’s got a right to say that. He’s not a yeller or screamer
or anything, but he tries to get his point across. He definitely speaks
up when he needs to.”

It’d be unfortunate if Mason
just being honest and telling it like it is would cause a rift in the
locker room, but the hope is that sentiments expressed to the press are
also being shared in the locker room.

I know some fans would just hope that the players wouldn’t air dirty laundry in public like this, but there are times when publicly calling out the team is needed. Besides, if you were the goaltender and doing anything and everything possible to keep your playoff hopes alive, and the team in front of you looked like they could care less — you’d be a bit angry yourself.

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

Rasmus Sandin
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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.