Laviolette stands up for Ilya Bryzgalov: “We all need to be better”


For better or worse, Peter Laviolette has been very patient with Ilya Bryzgalov’s struggles in the Philadelphia Flyers’ first round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. After all, many of the chances that beat Breezy were the result of some porous defense – and Sergei Bobrovsky allowed five of Wednesday’s 10 goals, too.

Sam Carchidi reports that Laviolette voiced his support of Bryzgalov, saying that he “has been satisfied with Bryz’s overall play in the series.” Tom Layberger got to the bottom of why he pulled Bryzgalov for Bobrovsky in the first place, in case that wasn’t evident.

“At that point Bryz needed to come out,” Laviolette said. “He had seen five goals in about (23) minutes and that was enough for him. He had been carrying the load for us and I think it was important for him to come out of that situation.”

Quite logically, Laviolette spread some of the blame to other Flyers players, as you can see on Philly’s official Twitter feed.

“Generally speaking, we all need to be better at what we do,” Laviolette said. “I’ve said it numerous times that desperation wins hockey games.”

The last thing the Flyers should do against a talented – if similarly flawed – team like the Penguins is to act as if they have a big series lead. After all, they’ve seen a team cough up a 3-0 series lead when they came back against the Boston Bruins in 3-0. Losing that sense of desperation could be a huge problem if Philly doesn’t recognize these dangers – or this could just be a sobering warning and useful lesson for a team heavy with young players.

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

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.