A Florida Panthers – Nashville Predators game might not seem like a match soaked in history, but for the two teams’ head coaches, it serves as meaningful encounter. Panthers head coach Peter Horachek spoke about the emotional impact of taking Barry Trotz, whom he assisted for about a decade.
“I learned from him and hopefully I added something for him,” Horacheck told the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “We’re more like brothers, a deep friendship. Our wives talk; we’ve talked since I’ve been aboard here every week.
“I definitely want to win. I’m sure he definitely wants to win … This is a business. When you leave one team to go to another, a door opens up and you’re excited for another opportunity.”
The Predators surprised Horacheck by firing him this past summer, but the Sun-Sentinel notes that it didn’t take long for the Panthers to scoop him up.
“I’ve been trying to get Peter in our organization since I got here,” Panthers assistant GM Mike Santos said. “If Peter Horachek is available you get him in your organization for whatever the opening is. I believe he’s that kind of coach, that talented.”
Horacek quickly moved up in the Panthers’ system, too, as he took over for Kevin Dineen during this season.
Horachek has done relatively well behind the Panthers bench so far, yet he hasn’t faced many “big” games. This would count as one, at least personally. The game is currently underway, so we’ll see which coach gets bragging rights during their weekly phone calls.
(H/T to Kevin Wilson, who tweeted this post’s main image of the two coaches chatting at the morning skate.)
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.
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.
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.
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.