Sharks GM Doug Wilson: 'Our failures are higher than most teams' successes'

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dougwilsoninthemiddle.jpgIt’s one of those debates that sports fans have from time to time: is it better to root for a cellar dwelling team that never gets your hopes up or a strong team that falls short of the mark each year? Both are pretty crummy situations, but you’ll have to ask of fans of teams like the San Jose Sharks or the 90s St. Louis Blues if the peaks are worth the valleys.

Sharks GM Doug Wilson strongly believes that the team has been a success in the past and is set up for a great future. He discussed the subject with Edward Fraser of The Hockey News.

“Our failures are higher than most teams’ successes,” Wilson said. “We don’t really worry about the outside noise. We went to the final four last year and we played very well. We’re going to build on that this upcoming year; last year is over and done with.

“Perception versus reality…how many teams have accomplished what we’ve accomplished the past six or seven years?”

One of the ways Wilson gauges success is by counting how many playoff rounds a team has played in recent years and since the end of the lockout, only Detroit, Pittsburgh and Anaheim have participated in as many post-season showdowns as San Jose. The Sharks are also one of only three teams (along with Detroit, 19, and New Jersey, 13) to have made the playoffs for six straight seasons.

(Good thing he doesn’t rate success by cumulative broken hearts though.)

Snark aside, the Sharks have survived what I thought would be a treacherous salary cap situation this summer. It’s probably minimal to say that the Sharks “only” lost Evgeni Nabokov and retired defenseman Rob Blake, but if the Antero Niittymaki experiment succeeds then maybe the team won’t miss a beat.

You cannot help but read a little defensiveness into what Wilson is saying, but he’s not all wrong. The Sharks might not be able to translate their regular season dominance into playoff success, yet let’s not forget that a seven-game series is a blip on the radar compared to an 82-game season.

As a general manager, you can only control so much. Wilson has done a great job in San Jose, but the team will be remembered as a letdown if they never win a Stanley Cup. It might not be fair, but that’s the bottom line.

Blackhawks F Katchouk will be 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 Sunday.

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.