Online bookmaker: Blues are 5/1 favorites to win Stanley Cup

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The acquisition of Ryan Miller has convinced online bookmaker Bovada to make the St. Louis Blues its 2014 Stanley Cup favorite. The Blues, a franchise that’s still looking for its first NHL title, is now getting 5/1 odds to win the Cup, down slightly from 6/1 on Feb. 4.

Here’s the full list of odds (Feb.4 odds in brackets):

St. Louis Blues 5/1 (6/1)
Chicago Blackhawks 13/2 (11/2)
Pittsburgh Penguins 13/2 (6/1)
Anaheim Ducks 15/2 (7/1)
Boston Bruins 15/2 (9/1)
San Jose Sharks 10/1 (10/1)
Los Angeles Kings 12/1 (16/1)
Colorado Avalanche 20/1 (20/1)
New York Rangers 20/1 (25/1)
Montreal Canadiens 25/1 (33/1)
Toronto Maple Leafs 25/1 (28/1)
Tampa Bay Lightning 28/1 (20/1)
Minnesota Wild 33/1 (40/1)
Philadelphia Flyers 33/1 (25/1)
Detroit Red Wings 40/1 (33/1)
Washington Capitals 40/1 (40/1)
Columbus Blue Jackets 50/1 (40/1)
Dallas Stars 50/1 (75/1)
Vancouver Canucks 50/1 (28/1)
New Jersey Devils 66/1 (50/1)
Ottawa Senators 66/1 (50/1)
Phoenix Coyotes 66/1 (66/1)
Winnipeg Jets 66/1 (200/1)
Carolina Hurricanes 100/1 (50/1)
Florida Panthers Off (300/1)
Nashville Predators Off (200/1)
New York Islanders Off (200/1)

The Oilers, Flames, and Sabres were all off the board on Feb. 4, and remain so.

Notes:

— Tampa Bay saw its odds go up from 20/1 to 28/1, as Martin St. Louis was traded to the Rangers, whose odds fell from 25/1 to 20/1.

— Not surprisingly, Vancouver’s odds made a significant move in the wrong direction, going from 28/1 to 50/1. Carolina’s move was the biggest in that direction, from 50/1 to 100/1, but that was more a long shot turning into a really long shot.

— The biggest mover in the right direction? That would be Winnipeg, going from 200/1 to 66/1. Next would be Dallas, going from 75/1 to 50/1. The L.A. Kings, featuring Marian Gaborik now, also saw their number fall a significant percentage, from 16/1 to 12/1.

— If we had $5 to bet? We’d throw it on Columbus at 50/1. Of all the long shots, you could do worse than the Blue Jackets in a pretty wide open Eastern Conference.

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

Rasmus Sandin
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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.