Battered Bruins get mixed updates on Krejci, Rask, Bergeron

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Call it the downside of having a roster brimming with high-mileage veterans or chalk it up to bad luck, but either way, injuries continue to be a frequent headache for the Boston Bruins.

Today’s practice and updates bring about a bevvy of new details on ailing players. Let’s go one by one with some of the most pressing cases.

David Krejci – Bad news here for an underrated center: he’s out through the weekend’s games and will be re-evaluated on either Sunday or Monday with an upper-body injury. The unpleasant “week-to-week” phrase was even floating around.

Tuukka Rask – Contrast that dour news with some optimism about the Bruins’ crucial starter. Rask was heavily involved in drills and seems to be making progress; that said, the experienced goalie needs to go through concussion protocol on Thursday morning.

So, that could still go sideways, but Rask seems to be trending up.

Patrice Bergeron – The all-world two-way center participated in practice, although the Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa reports that he wasn’t involved in “down-low battle drills.” Bergeron’s current ailment is lower-body related.

Kevan Miller – Like Rask, things sound positive for the defenseman. After practicing for a couple days with a no-contact jersey, he shed that today. It sounds positive in his regard:

Phew, that’s quite a bit of injury issues, and it remains to be seen if David Backes is really over all of his issues. The Bruins must be that much more relieved that they hashed out an agreement with David Pastrnak rather than seeing his contract situation drag into the season.

The Bruins are halfway through a four-game homestand and play five of their next six games in Boston. With that in mind, the 3-3-1 team needs to grind out all the points they can get, even if it isn’t always pretty.

That might just end up being how things must go in the near future, although it must be said that their top-end offense can look quite beautiful. At least in that video game dream scenario where they can turn injuries off.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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Islanders agree to terms with Mathew Barzal on 8-year extension

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Mathew Barzal has agreed to terms with the New York Islanders on an eight-year extension, a move that keeps the franchise’s top forward under contract for the balance of his prime.

The deal is worth $73.2 million with an annual salary cap hit of $9.15 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce terms.

Barzal has led the team in scoring, or been tied for the lead, every season since he became a full-time NHL player in 2017-18. He has 349 points in 411 regular-season and playoff games for the defensively stingy Islanders, who qualified for the postseason three consecutive times before an injury- and virus-altered last year.

“We feel recharged,” Barzal said recently. “We feel like everybody had good summers and worked hard, and we got that excitement back.”

Barzal, now 25, is coming off putting up 59 points in 75 games. The offensive star will now be asked to round out his game.

“I’m a fan because Mat has the ability to raise his game and to be a special player,” general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters at the team’s practice facility on Long Island. “And now, with this contract and our faith in him, (it) puts that responsibility on him. We’re trusting that. It’s up to him to respond to that.”

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.