Hurricanes’ ‘Storm Surge’ celebration is sadly coming to an end

9 Comments

The Carolina Hurricanes are still fighting for their Stanley Cup Playoff hopes with six games remaining in the NHL regular season. Thursday’s game against the Washington Capitals is another huge one as the Canes seek to end a postseason drought dating back to 2009.

Win or lose, what will happen following the game will be memorable. The ‘Storm Surge,’ which has infuriated out-of-touch dinosaurs around hockey all season long, will take place one final time for the year, according to captain Justin Williams.

They’ve played baseball, done the limbo, used Andrei Svechikov as a human bowling ball, brought back “Duck Hunt,” and watched as former boxing heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield “knocked out” Jordan Martinook, among a number of other post-win celebrations. They pissed off Brian Burke, and Don Cherry’s disapproval with the ‘Storm Surge’ inspired the “Bunch of Jerks” t-shirts.

It’s been glorious.

“We felt at the end of games a little stick wave was getting a little monotonous and getting a little tiresome and quite frankly, a little bit forced,” Williams explained to Sports Illustrated earlier this season. “So we wanted to do a little bit more. We started off with something small and slowly we’ve been having a lot more fun with it.”

The ‘Storm Surge’ has been a rousing success for a market that has seen a lot of bad hockey over the last decade. After falling short of expectations the past few seasons, Carolina is in the hunt for a playoff spot and the fan base is full of excitement.

If you weren’t a fan of the ‘Storm Surge,’ well, they weren’t meant for you, as the team put it succinctly last month:

It’s a post-win tradition that’s connected the players and the fan base during a season that has re-energized a market that needed a jolt.

We can’t wait to see what ‘Storm Surge’ ideas they come up with next season.

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Blackhawks F Katchouk will be sidelined by ankle sprain

blackhawks
Harry How/Getty Images
13 Comments

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

Getty Images
2 Comments

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

tampa bay lightning
Scott Audette/Getty Images
2 Comments

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

Rasmus Sandin
Julian Avram/Getty Images
2 Comments

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.