Back downtown? Phoenix mayor reaches out to Coyotes

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Calling himself not just the mayor of Phoenix, but a leader for the “entire region,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton is vowing to do what he can to keep the Coyotes from relocating out of the metropolitan area.

“It’s really important that this team, the Coyotes, stay in our valley,” Stanton told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM today (audio). “We are lucky to have an NHL franchise in the Valley of the Sun.”

While Stanton has said that he’s hopeful the team can work out its issues with the City of Glendale, if that’s not possible, he’s willing to help broker a return to its old downtown home, now called Talking Stick Resort Arena.

“It would be only smart of them to pursue all other opportunities,” Stanton said of the Coyotes.

The City of Phoenix owns Talking Stick Resort Arena, where the Coyotes played from 1996-2003 before moving to Glendale. The arena’s longtime tenants are the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.

Stanton said today that, in the wake of Wednesday’s vote, he reached out to both the Coyotes and Suns and that “both sides want to engage in conversations.”

Perhaps more importantly, Stanton also confirmed that he’s engaged in “preliminary conversations” with the Suns about building a new downtown arena.

“I’m sure those conversations are going to continue and enter a more earnest period over the next few months,” he said.

The Coyotes as potential co-tenants in a new downtown arena obviously brings a whole new factor into that equation.

Now, while many believe the Coyotes would be better off downtown, it’s worth remembering that it’s highly unlikely they’d be able to negotiate the kind of deal with the City of Phoenix to play in a new arena that they were able to get (until it was canceled) with the City of Glendale to play at Gila River Arena.

Would a move downtown offset what amounted to a public subsidy to play in Glendale?

Just one of the many questions that remains unanswered.

Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

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OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

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.