Bettman: Hurricanes relocation rumors are ‘wrong, wrong, wrong’

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Today’s meeting for the NHL’s Board of Governors was eventful, though mainly in giving Gary Bettman a chance to clear the air on some key expansion/relocation issues.

The sexiest update was the latest green light for the Seattle expansion team process. Yes, it’s still early, but Bettman’s update can mostly be described as highly promising. Read about that here.

That wasn’t the only crucial story illuminated by the league’s commissioner on Thursday, though. Bettman touched on an array of questions, with some promising updates for fans of the Hurricanes, particularly ones crossing their fingers that the team will stay in Carolina.

As NHL.com reports, the Hurricanes have entered a purchasing agreement where Tom Dundon would become the majority owner while Peter Karmanos would still maintain an equity stake. If you want to go deeper on those issues (hey, you be you), Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman crosses some t’s and dots some lower-cased j’s for you here and here. The rest of us will just move along, much like a confused Calculus class not asking for clarification at the end of a lesson few of us absorbed.

(Aside: Pierre LeBrun’s explanation makes more sense/was less worthy of a GIF from “The Hangover” trilogy.)

Now, Dundon is a Dallas-based businessman, which drummed up some speculation that maybe the Hurricanes would move to Houston at some point as part of this deal. Every now and then, Bettman comes up with some real gems, particularly when he’s a little steamed. He did so tonight in calling relocation rumors “wrong, wrong, wrong.”

“The club is not going anywhere with Mr. Dundon’s purchase, and for those of you who know geography, the fact that he lives in Dallas and that happens to be in the same state as Houston has nothing to do with anything,” Bettman said, via NHL.com. “He’s buying the club to have it in Carolina. I want to be crystal clear on this because it’s really not fair to the players, the fans or anybody in the (Research) Triangle that this rumor has started. It’s just not accurate.”

It’s worth noting, as Friedman did in that bit that definitely didn’t fly over our heads, that this doesn’t mean that the sale is truly complete yet, at least in an “ink dried” sense.

Bettman believes that it will take a few weeks, maybe stretching into January, before things get settled.

Still, it seems like a deal is agreed upon, and Bettman steadfastly states that the Hurricanes won’t relocate.

Considering the assemblage of talent, albeit one that hasn’t coalesced into a true contender yet, it’s understandable that some markets might drool over the idea of landing this core of great, young players. Bettman insists that fans in Carolina will get to see that (hopefully) come together, instead.

For a little more on the Hurricanes and Seattle, check out Bob McKenzie’s Wednesday appearance for NBCSN:

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As NHL.com’s Dan Rosen notes, there were other updates:

  • Nothing is going on with Houston, apparently, even beyond the Carolina rumblings.
  • It seems like there isn’t much new to note for the Coyotes or Islanders regarding their situations.
  • The Senators are in a similar boat with arena challenges.

Sportsnet’s John Shannon also points out that there continues to be negativity regarding the Calgary Flames and their messy arena situation. Lovely.

So, basically: good news for the Hurricanes and Seattle, though both situations aren’t totally finished. For everyone else with arena/etc. situations, the news is either bad or things remain a work in progress.

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.