Another setback in Pittsburgh for Pouliot

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When the Pittsburgh Penguins selected Derrick Pouliot with the No. 8 overall pick in 2012 (after acquiring that pick in the Jordan Staal trade) it was expected that he would one day become a focal point of the team’s defense.

Nearly five years later, it is worth wondering if his time with the team is on the verge of coming to an end without ever coming close to reaching that expectation.

The Penguins announced on Tuesday morning that Pouliot, following another disappointing recall with the big club, has been sent back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.

In his place, the team recalled defenseman Frank Corrado (acquired at the trade deadline from the Toronto Maple Leafs) and forward Oskar Sundqvist.

Pouliot has only appeared in 10 games for the Penguins this season, but as has been the case in all of his recent stints with the team, his play seemed to be trending in the wrong direction. He continued to be prone to the big mistake that would either see him get caught out of position, flat out beaten one-on-one, or just not making the right play with the puck. In those 10 games he did not record a single point, was a minus-four, and posted only a 46.7 percent Corsi percentage.

What is perhaps most striking about his career with the Penguins to this point is that he not only hasn’t been able to gain the trust of any coach the Penguins have had (and for good reason), but that he can’t consistently crack the Penguins’ lineup or get a solid look with the team right now. Given the number of injuries the team is dealing with on the blue line with Kris Letang, Trevor Daley, Olli Maatta and Ron Hainsey all sidelined, that is not encouraging.

He has seemingly been passed on the depth chart by the likes of Chad Ruhwedel, Cameron Gaunce and now Corrado.

Given his struggles at the NHL level during his first two years in the league, as well as the fact he is a restricted free agent after this season, this seemed to be a make-or-break year for Pouliot with the Penguins. Even though it has only been 10 games he really hasn’t done much to convince anybody that it is going to work for him in Pittsburgh.

 

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.