Comparing attendance figures for all 30 teams

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For no reason in particular (other than we’re tired of poring over the Oilers’ problems), here are the NHL’s attendance figures comparing last season to this one:

2014-15 2013-14 % change
Dallas 16,803 14,658 14.63%
Columbus 15,340 14,698 4.37%
St. Louis 17,584 17,025 3.28%
Washington 18,506 18,054 2.50%
Minnesota 18,917 18,505 2.23%
Nashville 16,844 16,600 1.47%
San Jose 17,334 17,133 1.17%
Ottawa 18,258 18,108 0.83%
Winnipeg 15,016 15,004 0.08%
Edmonton 16,839 16,828 0.07%
Montreal 21,286 21,273 0.06%
Anaheim 16,473 16,469 0.02%
Boston 17,565 17,565 0.00%
NY Rangers 18,006 18,006 0.00%
Pittsburgh 18,596 18,618 -0.12%
Philadelphia 19,765 19,839 -0.37%
Tampa Bay 18,465 18,612 -0.79%
Toronto 19,143 19,446 -1.56%
New Jersey 15,017 15,257 -1.57%
Calgary 18,973 19,302 -1.70%
Buffalo 18,046 18,579 -2.87%
Los Angeles 18,262 19,017 -3.97%
NY Islanders 14,126 14,740 -4.17%
Chicago 21,517 22,623 -4.89%
Colorado 15,437 16,295 -5.27%
Vancouver 18,661 19,770 -5.61%
Arizona 12,912 13,775 -6.26%
Detroit 20,027 22,149 -9.58%
Carolina 11,823 15,483 -23.64%
Florida 8,849 14,177 -37.58%

Source

Notes:

— Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, NJ Devils, NY Islanders, and Vancouver all hosted outdoor games last season, skewing their numbers upwards. So yeah, there should be zero concern that attendance for Blackhawks games is down. They still lead the league with an average of 21,517.

— In many markets where sellouts aren’t the norm, attendance has been known to increase once football season is over and the playoff races heat up.

— Dallas and Columbus have enjoyed good attendance bumps after breaking lengthy playoff droughts last season. Unfortunately, both the Stars and Blue Jackets got off to tough starts in 2014-15 and return trips to the postseason seem unlikely at this point. (Though both teams are playing better of late, so you never know.)

— Interesting that crowds are actually down for the Avs. You’d have thought that last season’s excitement would’ve helped their season-ticket base in a pretty significant way.

— Florida’s drop is the biggest, and it’s certainly eye-opening. Remember, however, that the Panthers have ceased the practice of giving away and/or deeply discounting tickets. We’d be more curious to know what Florida’s ticket-revenue numbers look like.

— Ditto for the ‘Canes.

— Arizona’s crowds are down. In a related story, the Coyotes will try to avoid their 10th straight home loss tonight against Edmonton.

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.