Crosby says calling him a whiner is “garbage” and “uncalled for”

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You might say Sidney Crosby is mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore.

Okay, that might be overstating things a tad.

A more accurate phrasing would be something like “Sidney Crosby is moderately annoyed, and doesn’t want to answer questions all the time” — which was apparent on Friday, when he spoke to Pens TV:

“I don’t know when this all started, if this is part of the new tactics in the playoffs, but it’s garbage,” Crosby told the media after Pittsburgh’s practice on Friday. “The game’s played on the ice. You get all this stuff going on. It really is garbage. It’s nonsense and if they want to do it great, but I’m not going to waste my time answering questions about it all the time.”

It’s understandable why Crosby’s gone on the offensive. Following Sunday’s game against Philadelphia, Flyers assistant Craig Berube said Crosby “whines to the refs all day and all night.”

Following Thursday’s game against New York, Rangers head coach John Tortorella said the Penguins had “two whining stars” — referring to (we assume) Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

That’s two whiner accusations in a four-day span. Haven’t seen a pro athlete so aggressively tagged with that label since John McEnroe was berating chair umpires.

To be fair, No. 87 agreed that — in his early years — he often rode officials hard (gotta be a better way to say that.) But he also says he’s since mellowed out on the complaining tip and doesn’t think his reputation is deserved.

“I’m nowhere near where I was then and to get those kinds of remarks every day is uncalled for and not warranted,” Crosby explained. “I don’t really know how much I can say. I don’t need to sit here and defend myself for something that’s not going on.

“But if they want to try that garbage, try it.”

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.