Kings to educate players on domestic violence and drug abuse

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Following a season, which saw two players arrested in a seven-month span, the L.A. Kings have decided to address the team’s off-ice issues.

“I think both incidents generated a lot of discussion during the year. Clearly at the meetings and the debriefing at the end of the year, it was the number-one topic, before we even got to the hockey,” said Kings GM Dean Lombardi on Tuesday via a conference call. “The first thing you look at is, were there any signs that we should have been aware of, in both of these incidents? You look at yourself, as managers and coaches. I think we were very good in terms of communicating with our players and go out of our way to try to know them personally, as human beings.

“I think it’s one of the reasons we’ve always had that kind of family effect around there. But clearly we could do more.”

In October defenseman Slava Voynov was arrested for domestic assault.

Then in April, Jarret Stoll was arrested for drug possession in Las Vegas.

“We neglected to educate our players,” said Lombardi. “We spend time teaching them systems, nutrition and everything else, but we missed a big step here, in terms of ensuring that they understand right and wrong.

“That has to be reinforced, not only as a human being but as somebody who is a representative of your community.”

Lombardi announced that former NBA player Chris Herren would talk to the players about drug abuse.

The club is also in the process of setting up a domestic violence group that will talk to the team.

Lombardi confirmed that he had met with Stoll following his arrest.

“It’s safe to say, in all honesty, it was probably the most difficult meeting I’ve had in my career,” said Lombardi. “Probably one of the most gut-wrenching meetings I’ve ever had in my entire career, and I’ve had meetings with lots of players.”

The 32-year-old, who was a part of both Stanley Cup wins, is a pending unrestricted free agent.

Voynov’s trial is scheduled to begin on July 6.

Blackhawks F Katchouk will be 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 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.

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

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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.