Future (and present) full of promise for Boston

Thumbnail image for satan.jpgWhen discussing the Boston Bruins this year, I’d normally focus on the future. After all, with the mediocre way they were playing during the regular season, it was hard to imagine them doing much in the short term. Obviously the B’s continue to exceed expectations by being one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals, but even if they fall short of a Cup run, the future seems very bright.

The Boston Globe’s Tony Massarotti agrees with this point and also rightly mentions that the Bruins were criticized heavily for not making any big trade deadline moves, yet they’re prospering on the ice anyway.

This postseason, Recchi and Satan have combined for nine goals and 17 points in nine games, all while counting for less than $1.4 million of the Bruins’ approximate $60 million payroll.

Meanwhile, Ilya Kovalchuk is out of the playoffs. So is Raffi Torres (for whom the Sabres paid more in slightly more than a month than the Bruins are paying Satan all season). Alexei Ponikarovsky and the Pittsburgh Penguins are still very much alive in the postseason, but he has not produced for the Penguins what either Recchi or Satan has produced for the Bruins.

Give Chiarelli his due here, folks. Even the Dennis Seidenberg pickup proved more valuable than anyone initially thought. (At the time, the roundabout swap of Derek Morris for Seidenberg seemed like a classic case of rearranging the furniture.) Chiarelli resisted bigger, more dramatic moves for more specific and cost-efficient ones, and the Bruins on the ice have benefited greatly.

Not every move GM Peter Chiarelli made the last few years succeeded. The Tim Thomas contract, in particular, may saddle the franchise for a few years.

Still, there’s no doubt in my mind that the team is moving in a very positive direction. Hockey’s a crazy enough sport that the Bruins could go all the way, but like Massarotti wrote, even if they don’t they might be set for future success.

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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.