Ryan Whitney announces his retirement

Getty Images
3 Comments

Roughly a month and a half away from the 10-year anniversary of his first NHL game, Ryan Whitney announced that he’s decided to hang up his skates.

“Today I am retiring from the game of hockey,” he said in a statement. “It’s impossible to put into words how much I love this sport. My mind has been flooded with so many amazing memories all day. From early morning rides to the rink with my dad, to having the privilege of representing my country in the Olympic Games, it truly has been a wonderful journey.

“Unfortunately my body broke down on me sooner than I had hoped. I’m 32 years old and you’re likely to find stronger and more stable ankles and feet on the residents at your local nursing home.

“I will miss my teammates and bring around the locker room the most. My best friends are guys I played this game with. I share so many different memories with all of them that span over 20 years. That is what makes hockey so special.

“It is remarkable how quickly it went by. There were many ups and obviously plenty of downs, but I wouldn’t change a thing because it all made me into the person I am today. I dreamt of playing in the NHL my entire life and I’m forever thankful to everyone who helped make my dreams come true.”

Whitney was taken with the fifth overall pick of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins and early in his career he was a great offensive defenseman. He tied sixth among blueliners in points with 59 in his 2006-07 sophomore season. He followed that up with a 40-point campaign in 2007-08, but that would be his last full season with the Penguins.

Pittsburgh traded him to Anaheim in February 2009 in exchange for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi. Just over a year later, the Ducks sent him to Edmonton along with a sixth round pick in exchange for Lubomir Visnovsky.

It wasn’t long after that second trade that his career started to unravel. From 2010-11 through 2013-14 he only participated in 127 NHL games. Last season he played primarily in the KHL.

At the end of the day, he’s retiring after scoring 50 goals and 259 points in 481 contests.

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.