Brodeur’s comments were “off the cuff,” doesn’t really think Devils should shoot at Rangers’ heads

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First off, Martin Brodeur was joking.

Through a team spokesman, he said his comments were “off the cuff.”

And according to the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox, whose dateline says New York, “Anybody who was actually there listening would know” Brodeur wasn’t being serious.

So now that you know Brodeur was kidding, you probably want to know what he said.

When asked Monday about the Rangers’ effective shot-blocking, Brodeur remarked, “We might be able to hurt a few guys [by] hitting one-timers in the foot and their head or something.”

Gasp.

Not surprisingly, Devils skaters denied they’d ever do such a thing.

“That’s a little hard-core,” Dainius Zubrus said, as reported by the New York Post, the paper that took Brodeur’s comment and ran with it. “I haven’t done that yet in my career, actually shoot at anybody’s face. I’m not really planning on it. I think there are still lanes to get it through. Sometimes the puck gets away, and people get hit. But honestly, I’ve never aimed at anybody’s head.”

Of course, the Post never bothered to follow up with Brodeur, despite ample opportunity to do so, says The Record’s Tom Gulitti.

So it sounds like this was just The Post being The Post.

But we might as well ask it anyway – would you do what Brodeur was joking about? Not shooting at somebody’s head; that’s dumb. But how about their foot? Jay Beagle broke his foot blocking a shot in Game 5 of the Capitals-Rangers series, and a Dale Hunter-coached team can’t be expected to win without Jay Beagle. And hey, if a guy’s going to willfully put himself in the way of your shot…

For the record, I’d probably just try to get the shot through. Don’t need it bouncing off a foot and starting a counterattack the other way.

Oh, and you shouldn’t intentionally injure someone. That too.

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.