Stars are concerned about backup Lindback

4 Comments

Anders Lindback has started two games this season for the Dallas Stars. He wasn’t terrible in the first one, a 4-1 loss to Nashville in which he stopped 29 of 32 shots. But in the second one, Saturday’s 7-5 loss to the Islanders, he could’ve been considerably better.

Just ask him.

“I have to be better than that; that’s about it,” Lindback said, per the Dallas Morning News. “Those two under the arm are goals I need to have. You can break it down, but in the end I need to make those stops that keep us in the game.”

We wrote about the Stars’ backup goalie concerns in our Risk Factors series, noting the importance of the position for a bubble team like Dallas and that Lindback had a rather unimpressive .891 save percentage last season in Tampa Bay.

Here’s what coach Lindy Ruff said before the season: “Ideally, if you can come out of a season and have your backup with a winning record, that’s a big deal. He needs to be able to step in and win games for you, play well.”

And here’s what Ruff said Saturday: “I thought [Lindback] had a tough night. We gave some pretty good opportunities, but at the same time you have to get some saves. It’s part of his role, and it’s not easy, but we needed a few tonight.”

Ruff added: “It’s something we’re putting a hard look into. We liked him through camp, and he’s had a little bit of a struggle.”

The Stars do have options. They could call up Jussi Rynnas, or even young Jack Campbell, from the AHL. But neither of those two are guaranteed to be much better than Lindback.

Lindback’s next test could come soon, with the Stars playing back-to-back this weekend, Friday at home to Anaheim and Saturday in Minnesota.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

blackhawks
Harry How/Getty Images
13 Comments

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

Getty Images
3 Comments

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

tampa bay lightning
Scott Audette/Getty Images
2 Comments

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
Julian Avram/Getty Images
2 Comments

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.