Crosby makes “last minute” decision to attend NHL-NHLPA meeting in New York

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A quick but potentially interesting update on today’s collective bargaining session:

Sidney Crosby and Penguins teammate Craig Adams have made a “last minute” decision to attend the meeting, according to Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The decision to attend was announced shortly after Crosby and Adams practiced with teammates at the Southpointe Iceoplex in Pittsburgh.

It’s an interesting turn of events given that, yesterday, Rossi reported Crosby’s only plan for Tuesday was to attend a Madonna concert:

Adams said he was “looking into flights to New York,” but had not committed to attending the Tuesday meeting. Penguins teammates at Southpointe on Monday — Crosby, Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz — said their plan was to practice again Tuesday and not attend the New York meeting.

Crosby, who along with Adams attended the last group negotiating session between the NHL and NHLPA in Toronto on Oct. 18, said he was unsure “who’s invited.”

Thus, he invited teammates and their significant others to join him in a private suite at Consol Energy Center for the Madonna concert.

“You don’t want to read into anything,” Crosby said of the Tuesday meeting.

Having both Crosby and Adams in attendance for Tuesday’s meeting is symbolic.

As one of the league’s biggest stars, Crosby has been front and center for a number of sessions — he, along with Jonathan Toews, flanked NHLPA boss Donald Fehr during media availability following last significant NHL-NHLPA meeting on Oct. 18.

The Harvard-educated Adams is a member of the NHLPA’s negotiating committee and Pittsburgh’s lone union representative.

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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

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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.