Red Wings shut down Green’s season after virus reactivation

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The Detroit Red Wings will end the 2018-19 NHL season the same way they began it: without defenseman Mike Green.

Green has been shut down for the rest of the season, thanks to a reactivation of the same virus that kept him out for most of October.

The initial thought was that Green would miss 7-10 days due to the flare-up, but the Red Wings announced Thursday that Green had seen a specialist and the choice was made to end his season.

The virus is said to be attacking his liver and causing Green to be fatigued.

Head coach Jeff Blashill said he’s been told that there is no long-term worry with Green, only that he needs proper rest at the moment.

“I’ve been told of no concern at all long term,” Blashill said. “Obviously, like anything else in life, you never know, you take everything day to day, but they think it’s a virus that with proper rest he’ll be fine but you can’t get proper rest when you’re going through an NHL season. The purpose of holding him out for the rest of the year is that he can fully recover and once he’s fully recovered he should be totally fine.”

Green signed a two-year, $10.75 million deal last summer and has five goals and 26 points in 43 games this season.

Green missed over a month –12 games — earlier this season because of a foot injury.

The Red Wings are all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs at this point sitting on 56 points, 23 behind the Montreal Canadiens, who hold down the second wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.

The silver lining to Green’s absence will be more time for some of the young crop of defenseman to see more meaningful minutes. This includes both Filip Hronek and Madison Bowey, the latter who the Red Wings picked up at the trade deadline from the Washington Capitals in exchange for Nick Jensen. Hronek appears in line to quarterback the team’s first power-play unit.

Detroit is in a full-blown rebuild at the moment and as of Thursday, have the second-best odds heading into the draft lottery at 13.5% according to Tankathon. That would land them Kaapo Kakko at the very least in June’s draft.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

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.