Olympic roster deadline set for Dec. 31

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On Friday, NHL players learned they’ll be eligible for selection for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

They also learned how long they’ll have to impress their respective selection committees.

According to the International Ice Hockey Federation, roster submissions are to be submitted by Dec. 31, 2013 — a provisional list of 22 skaters and three goalies.

Prior to that, countries are required to submit “long lists” of candidates by Oct. 1, though the names on the long lists will not be made public.

While the NHL has yet to release it’s 2013-14 schedule, play usually begins in the opening week of October (during the last Olympic year, games began on Oct. 1, 2009.)

This would give players nearly three full months of play — approximately 40 games — to audition for spots.

Here’s more, from the IIHF:

All participating national associations will submit their “long lists” of rosters on October 1, 2013 (both men’s and women’s) while on the men’s side there will be an additional no-later-than December 31, 2013 deadline of submission of provisional 22 skaters and 3 goaltenders playing rosters. The October 1 “long lists” will not be made public.

The final and official playing rosters will be registered at the Olympic tournament directorate meetings, one day before the start of the respective events. On the women’s side the final roster registration will be on February 7, 2014, the men’s registration on February 11, 2014.

The February roster date is likely for last-second changes.

At the Vancouver games in 2010, there was a clause in place stating that if a player from the 23-man roster got injured between Jan. 1 and the start of the Olympic tournament, he could be replaced up until the eve of the first game (on Feb. 16.)

In 2010, American defensemen Paul Martin and Mike Komisarek were both named to the provisional roster, but later forced to miss the tournament due to injury. They were replaced by Ryan Whitney and Tim Gleason.

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.