Bettman feels “terrible” about impending lockout, but owners have their reasons

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And then it was Gary Bettman’s turn to explain why the NHL is headed for a lockout.

The commissioner took to the podium Thursday in New York shortly after his NHLPA counterpart held a press conference touting the union’s position.

According to Bettman, there’s unanimous support from the owners for not starting the season without a new CBA in place. Which is to say, unless the players move off their position, there’s going to be a lockout when the current agreement expires Saturday.

In justifying the owners’ demands, Bettman referenced the NBA and NFL, whose players recognized the need to “retrench” and accept a reduction in revenue share.

Bettman’s also not willing to apologize for trying to rework the current agreement, arguing that agreements have terms for a reason.

Regarding the NHLPA’s latest proposal, Bettman said it was unacceptable to the owners because it did not result in “a reduction in real dollars” of player salaries.

When asked how the owners could justify signing players to contracts and then asking them to take less in real dollars (i.e. losing money to escrow), Bettman reasoned that there was no “perpetual entitlement” to the 57 percent share of overall revenues the players currently receive.

He also questioned the union’s revenue growth projections in its proposal, suggesting they were unreasonably optimistic and, as a result, misleading.

When asked if he has a message for the fans, Bettman would only say: “Nobody wants to make a deal and play hockey more than I do. This is what I do. This is what my life is about…This is very hard and I feel terrible about it.”

Here’s the full presser:

Related: NHL vs NHLPA — Breaking down each side’s proposal

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.