Capitals continue to struggle with Hockey 101

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Dale Hunter is getting back to basics in Washington. In fact, if he gets any more basic, he’ll be teaching the Capitals how to lace up their skates.

As reported by CSNWashington.com, Hunter has been imploring his players to chip the puck in deep when the opponent stacks the blue line.

“We show them on tape,” Hunter said. “We call them turnovers at the blue line. You’ve got to give your skill guys some leeway. But they’ve got to make the right read. If they have four guys across the blue line, the odds are you’re not going to get through. You’re going to turn it over and you’re going to be chasing the other way. If you dump it, you’re chasing them, and they’re under the gun.”

Not sure if Hunter was dumbing it down for reporters when he said, “We call them turnovers at the blue line.” Hopefully he doesn’t have to talk like that in team meetings. We call that back-checking, Alex.

Of course, we all remember the Capitals (led by Alex Ovechkin) playing Red Rover with the Lightning’s 1-3-1 in the playoffs, so the “knock it off with the turnovers at the blue line” message needed to be sent.

But that’s a message that’s sent to pee-wee players, and we’re talking about the NHL here. It shouldn’t have to be sent twice to professionals.

Anyway, Washington hosts Tampa Bay tonight in a game Hunter is calling a “must win for both teams.”

PS – Do the Caps ever remind you of the time Homer and Marge had to take that parenting class?

Teacher: There are a lot of little tricks to it, things you should have learned a long time ago. Such as, if you leave milk out, it can go sour. Put it in the refrigerator, or, failing that, a cool wet sack.

[much later]

And put your garbage in a garbage can, people. I can’t stress that enough. Don’t just throw it out the window.

Marge: This is so humiliating.

Homer: [writing furiously] “Garbage in garbage can”…hmm, makes sense.

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.