On the future of Torts

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Brad Richards’ contract may not be the only casualty of a second-round exit by the New York Rangers. There’s also reason to wonder if John Tortorella is about to coach his last game for the team he’s led the past five postseasons.

Indeed, if the Rangers are swept by the Bruins tonight at Madison Square Garden, the calls for a new bench boss in the Big Apple will be loud.

Not by all, of course.

Tortorella is a polarizing figure. Some love his no-nonsense style and the way he handles players and reporters; some hate it and would vehemently disagree with the descriptor “no-nonsense.”

But that’s mostly just noise. Wins are what matter for head coaches in the NHL, and three playoff series victories in five postseasons isn’t good enough given the high expectations, not to mention payroll, in New York.

Many critics will point to Tortorella’s inability to coax offense out of a lineup that features no shortage of high-priced talent up front. New York is averaging just 2.1 goals per game in the 2013 playoffs. Last year, the Rangers scored three or fewer goals in all but one of their 20 postseason games.

To Tortorella’s credit, the Rangers almost always play hard, and they’ve shown they’re not afraid to sacrifice for the betterment of the team by blocking lots of shots. But is collapsing in the defensive zone a winning style? Isn’t it better to possess the puck; not be constantly diving in front of it?

Oh, and the entertainment value isn’t particularly high either, if that’s a concern for ownership, which is in the business of entertainment.

All that said, at least one reporter who’s covered the Rangers closely the past few seasons doesn’t believe Tortorella will be fired.

Writes Dave Lozo for theScore.com:

Tortorella has one more year left on his contract and will enter next season with a true contender. If the Rangers struggle in their first 20 games, maybe something happens. Who would the Rangers get to replace him now? Lindy Ruff? Alain Vigneault? Mark Messier? I’ve been wrong before, but there’s just no way Tortorella is going anywhere after this season unless a mutiny happens.

Related: ‘I hope to coach again,’ says Vigneault

Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

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OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

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.