Jared Cowen on buyout from Maple Leafs: ‘it was a joke of a process’

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Jared Cowen has not played in a professional hockey game since February of 2016, just before he was traded by the Ottawa Senators to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the blockbuster Dion Phaneuf trade.

Cowen, a top-10 pick in the 2009 NHL draft, never played in a game for the Maple Leafs organization and was involved in a complex arbitration case with the team after the team bought him out. The Maple Leafs executed the buyout in an effort to create additional salary cap space, a move that Cowen challenged on the grounds that he was injured and it was against league rules for the Maple Leafs to buy out his contract.

Cowen lost the case (and $3 million) and became a free agent, finally landing with the Colorado Avalanche this summer on a tryout contract in the hopes of resurrecting his once promising career.

On Friday, he spoke with Adrian Dater of BSNDenver and was extremely critical of the process with the Maple Leafs.

Via BSNDenver.

“Basically, they got me, figured out that I was hurt, they didn’t want to deal with it and they got rid of me.”

“It was a joke of a process,” Cowen said. “But, it’s in the past. It was a stressful time in my life, in terms of getting traded, getting bought out, getting waived, finding out I needed surgeries.”

Obviously, his time in Toronto was not a very pleasant experience for him.

Now he is getting an opportunity to crack an Avalanche lineup that is desperate for help on the blue line.

When it comes to finding a spot that would give him a chance to make an NHL roster, Colorado was probably the best possible landing spot for him.

The Avalanche have been one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL for a couple of years now and still have a defense that looks to be woefully undermanned on paper. Even after finally signing restricted free agent Nikita Zadorov they only have four NHL defensemen under contract for the 2016-17 season. Five if you include prospect Andrei Mironov. So there is obviously a spot to be had if he can impress in training camp and the preseason.

Prior to the injury that sidelined him in 2016 Cowen had appeared in 249 NHL games — all with the Senators — and scored 15 goals to go with 31 assists.

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.

Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

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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.