If there’s a list of coaches on the hot seat, it’s a short one


So, Michel Therrien is safe in Montreal.

Ditto for Willie Desjardins in Vancouver.

Combine that with all the big names hired last year — Mike Babcock, Dan Bylsma, and Todd McLellan — and it’s hard to come up with a long list of NHL head coaches on the hot seat.

Therrien and Desjardins would’ve been right at the top if not for the assurances from management. Both have received considerable criticism in their respective markets, and neither of their squads will be making the playoffs. But, again, they’re safe.

As for the rest of the teams that won’t be playing in the postseason? Well, maybe Ottawa moves on from Dave Cameron. The Senators have been a disaster defensively, and they don’t seem to be making much progress in that regard. On the other hand, it was Cameron who took over and helped the Sens into a playoff spot last season. He ended up finishing sixth in the Jack Adams Award voting. So he’s got that going for him.

Maybe no team fires its coach after missing the playoffs.

Which brings us to the teams that could make a change if the playoffs don’t go well.

Surely the St. Louis Blues won’t bring Ken Hitchcock back if they lose for a fourth straight time in the first round. He was brought back this season on a one-year deal, after the Blues had reportedly interviewed Babcock for the job. “This is unfinished business for me,” Hitchcock said in May. “I don’t want to coach to coach. I want to coach to win and I couldn’t find a better spot than to show up right here and coach this hockey club.” We’ll see about that soon.

What about Jack Capuano in Brooklyn? Some might be surprised to know that Capuano has the fourth-longest tenure of any head coach in the league. Only Claude Julien, Joel Quenneville and Dave Tippett have lasted longer. Unlike those three, Capuano has yet to win a playoff series. And unlike when Capuano started on the job, there are expectations for his team now.

What if the Ducks don’t make a deep run? By all indications, Bruce Boudreau barely survived his team’s early-season struggles. Not firing him then looks like a great decision now, but GM Bob Murray may feel otherwise if Anaheim has an early exit. Or, you know, he may not. The Ducks have been on fire since about mid-January. Boudreau is only in this conversation because there are so few other candidates to speak of.

Perhaps there will be a surprise coaching change, one that we don’t see coming. And, of course, the Minnesota Wild still need to decide on interim bench boss John Torchetti.

But unless we’re reading it wrong, next season’s list of head coaches should look a lot like the current one.

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

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.