R.I.P., Capitals’ Stanley Cup keg stands?

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The grand(?), new tradition of Stanley Cup “keg stands” might just begin and end with the Washington Capitals.

The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan reports that esteemed Keeper of the Cup Philip Pritchard is “advising” the Capitals to discontinue the practice, out of not-so-unreasonable fear that the activity might damage Lord Stanley’s chalice.

“We ask them politely not to do it,” Pritchard said. “We’re trying to preserve the history of the Stanley Cup. We don’t want any unnecessary damage to it or a person, in case they drop the person or he presses too hard or something.”

Under normal circumstances, I would file this under “The NHL loves nothing more than killing fun.” Already in that Trapper Keeper: eliminating the spin-o-rama, ignoring obstruction for a decade and generally shrugging their shoulders at scoring issues, and taunting the universe by only calling delay of game penalties in far too many playoff games.

Honestly, though? In this case, it makes sense. The Cup has been soiled by babies, used to eat a wide variety of treats hopefully after being properly sanitized from said baby attacks, and has been the glorious transporter of booze for ages. It’s also been in the bottom of Mario Lemieux’s swimming pool, and spooned in bed by both Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.

(Let’s not forget Phil Kessel‘s Stanley Cup full of spite and hot dogs. That might be the pinnacle.)

Really, with all of that in mind, it’s actually kind of shocking that Pritchard told Khurshudyan that the keg stand gimmick is a Capitals creation. Is this because the NHL needs more NCAA talent? There are a lot of burning questions here, folks.

If this is really it for SCKS (an abbreviation I definitely didn’t just make up right now), it seems like it was already quite the run. Some stars shine brightest, but not the longest, or however that cliched saying goes.

Anyway, in case this is it for the tradition, let’s remember it fondly. Maybe pour one out for the celebration. You can see the Capitals take the Stanley Cup keg stand to Jimmy Fallon in the video above this post’s headline, and more examples below:

*Sigh* You were too beautiful for this world, SCKS. Maybe the Capitals can plan another innovation if they repeat?

Well, I guess there’s one bright side: guzzling from the Stanley Cup in a more traditional, upright position probably means losing less booze, right?

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.

Blackhawks F Katchouk will be 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 Sunday.

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.