Snider: Flyers are ‘better, no question about it’

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After introducing his club’s three big free agent acquisitions — Vincent Lecavalier, Mark Streit and Ray Emery — Flyers owner Ed Snider talked up his team’s chances for next season.

“I go into every season optimistic and excited,” Snider said, as per CSN Philadelphia. “But this is very unique, to have three outstanding players on the podium at the same time that we recently signed. You don’t add three terrific players like that without getting better.

“We’re better, no question about it.”

In Lecavalier and Streit, the Flyers got some veteran leadership — both were captains last year in Tampa Bay and on Long Island, respectively — and depth at both center and defense.

“Adding Vinny,” Flyers GM Paul Holmgren explained, “I said this, we have Claude [Giroux], we have a couple young centers, we have Max [Talbot] that can play center, and Matt Read.

“Depth at center is huge.”

On defense, Streit is one of the 10 (yes, 10) Philadelphia blueliners signed on for next year, though one of those — Chris Pronger — will be put on long-term injured reserve.

That leaves the other nine — Streit, Kimmo Timonen, Graydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros, Luke Schenn, Nicklas Grossmann, Erik Gustafsson, Bruno Gervais and Marc-Andre Bourdon — to battle it out for playing time (or, possibly, getting shipped out of town altogether.)

In Emery, the Flyers got a goalie that posted a 17-1-0 record last season, combining with Corey Crawford to win the Jennings Trophy in Chicago.

“All he does is win,” Holmgren said of Emery, who expects to platoon with Steve Mason in goal next season.

All in all, the Flyers sounded very confident that last year’s disappointment — a 10th-place finish in the Eastern Conference — won’t carry over to 2013-14.

“I feel better than I have in years,” Snider said. “I feel very good about this team.”

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.