The Blues will get ‘a big piece of our team’ back as Elliott returns on Saturday

Associated Press
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The St. Louis Blues have been decimated by injuries throughout the season. They were without a number of key skaters for an extended period of time  in 2015-16 and they’ve also gone through stretches without both of their goaltenders.

Now, it’s time for St. Louis to get some good news on the injury front, as Brian Elliott has been activated off injured reserve. He’ll be in goal when the Blues take on the Canucks on Saturday night.

The 30-year-old missed 10 games because of a lower-body injury and his return couldn’t have come at a better time. Jake Allen had been outstanding during Elliott’s absence, but he was starting to fade after playing 11 games in a row. Allen has given up nine goals in  his last 90 minutes of action.

“You want to get back to your two goalies,” coach Ken Hitchcock said, per The Dispatch. “We’ve been so fortunate because both guys have been on their own and both have played really well. But at the end of the day, when you’re traveling like this and you’re playing this many games, you’re going to get worn down.”

As for Elliott’s teammates, they couldn’t be happier to have him back in the lineup. After all, he was outstanding while taking over for an injured Allen. He went on a 12-3-3 run while allowing two goals or less in 13 of those games.

“He was awesome,” teammate Jaden Schwartz said of Elliott’s impressive run. “He kept us in a lot of games, big, big saves. I don’t know the stats, but he must have been one of the best goalies for the last few months that he was playing. He’s a big piece of our team.”

It’ll be interesting to see how Hitchcock decides to divide the workload between his goalies. The Blues have been able to avoid a goalie controversy because Allen and Elliott haven’t been healthy at the same time in 2016. So, what’s Hitchcock’s plan?

“I don’t really have a plan,” added Hitchcock. “I know that’s probably scary for the fans to hear that, but I don’t really have a plan. I think after 10 games, I’m going to figure it out.”

Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
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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.