So, the Kings hope Vincent Lecavalier will be like Bill Walton


If you can count on Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi to do one thing, it’s to provide more than the usual cliches.

Sure, he threw out some typical hockey banter during his press conference explaining the surprising trade that sent Vincent Lecavalier and Luke Schenn to Los Angeles (more details here).

For instance:

  • Backing up Damien Cox’s belief that the Kings wanted to beef up in two areas.

  • More specifically, Lombardi looks to Lecavalier to add “strength down the middle.”
  • Beyond that, he repeatedly compared Luke Schenn to Matt Greene, a physical defensive presence that the Kings are missing. He also noted that he hopes Drew Doughty (who’s quite familiar with Schenn) can take the still-pretty-young defenseman under his wing.
  • Lombardi also confirmed that Lecavalier is, in fact, planning on retiring after the 2015-16 season, a “key element” in getting the deal done.

The fun stuff came when he colored outside the lines.

Lombardi didn’t just explain that, ideally, Lecavalier will come in and play the common role of star-turned-veteran-role-player. Instead, he made some amusingly antiquated comparisons to aging big names moving to other teams for a shot at a Cup, making reference to Bill Walton’s time with the Boston Celtics and Bob McAdoo joining the Showtime Lakers.

(Was Lombardi watching a Magic – Bird documentary recently or something?)

He could have referenced Ray Bourque going to the Colorado Avalanche or any number of other hockey examples … but what’s the fun in that?

Also interesting: Lombardi more or less wished Mike Richards well, believing that he has a shot now that the facts are all known.

The Kings certainly should be interesting to watch, and their GM is usually a fun guy to listen to.

For his full comments, check out the OC Register’s transcript.

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

tampa bay lightning
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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.