Yzerman optimistic despite Bishop’s struggles at Worlds

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There were a few eyebrows raised when Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop — the lone NHL netminder on Team USA’s entry at the World Hockey Championships — lost his starting job to 19-year-old John Gibson midway through the tournament.

There were more raised when Bishop failed to win it back, and spent the remainder of the tourney as a backup.

One person trying to put a positive spin on the situation, though, was Bishop’s GM — Steve Yzerman.

“You can take a positive approach to every situation you go to and learn from it and benefit from it,” Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s good for him.

“[Bishop] hasn’t played a ton and the more things you can experience — obviously, we all hope things go well — but you can learn a lot when they don’t go as well and be better for it.”

Bishop went 3-2-0 in the tourney with a 2.83 GAA and .876 save percentage. Those sub par numbers were exacerbated in a game against Slovakia where a pair of gaffes — a puckhandling error that led to a goal, a weak shot through his legs — ended up costing the Americans in a eventual 4-1 loss.

Bishop, 26, did show some positive signs upon being acquired by the Bolts at the deadline.

His first game was a 45-save shutout against Carolina, yet his numbers at the end of the year with Tampa Bay weren’t great: 3-4-1 record, with a 2.99 GAA and .917 save percentage.

But as far as Yzerman’s concerned, it’s all a part of the process.

“The biggest thing for goaltenders is mental toughness and the ability to come back the next night regardless of what happened the previous night,” he said.

“”That comes with time. Play a lot and you learn to deal with situations good or bad. Any of these experiences help a lot.”

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After starring for Team USA, Ducks goalie Gibson ‘ready for the NHL right now’

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.