PHT Morning Skate: No surgery needed for McDavid; Pens need top line production

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

Connor McDavid should be ready for the start of the regular season. (TSN)

• Although the series isn’t over yet, the Tampa Bay Lightning have totally fallen apart since the second period of Game 1. (Scotty Wazz)

• Even though the Islanders are one game away from advancing to the second round, they’re not looking past the Penguins. (New York Post)

• The Pittsburgh Penguins are on the brink of elimination, and the fact that they haven’t received a point from their top line is a big reason why. (Pittsburgh Tribune)

Nazem Kadri‘s hearing with the department of player safety is set for today. How many games will he get? (Leafs Nation)

• Yes, Kadri’s antics have been the focus of the series, but another under-the-radar storyline is that the Bruins defense is starting to get banged up. (Sportsnet.ca)

• The Ice Garden breaks down the controversial call in the Women’s World Hockey Championship final. (The Ice Garden)

• Golden Knights players trust that their organization will make the best decisions for them. That’s why Nikita Gusev’s signing was made possible. (Sinbin.Vegas)

• Let’s take a deeper look at the line matchups in Game 2 of the series between the Flames and Avalanche. It’s strange to see the matchup get away from the Flames because they were the home team. (Flames Nation)

Rocco Grimaldi has become an important part of the Predators lineup heading into Game 3. (On the Forecheck)

• The Mats Zuccarello acquisition has already worked out well for the Dallas Stars. (Dallas Morning News)

• Years after delivering a crushing hit against Erik Cole, Brooks Orpik is taking on the Carolina Hurricanes again. (News and Observer)

• The Edmonton Oilers should look into bringing Ralph Krueger back into the organization. (Edmonton Journal)

• The AHL released the first-round schedule for the Calder Cup Playoffs. (Calder Cup)

• There’s a scandal surrounding a $2 million scholarship fund that was set up after the Humboldt Bus Crash. (CBC)

• Don Cherry doesn’t think that Elias Pettersson should win the Calder Trophy. (Daily Hive)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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Harry How/Getty Images
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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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Scott Audette/Getty Images
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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

Rasmus Sandin
Julian Avram/Getty Images
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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.