Tortorella regrets rant, NHL defends referee decision

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Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella ripped into the NHL and its on-ice officials on Sunday following his team’s shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Tortorella’s rage was directed at a clock mishap that saw an extra two seconds run off the clock in overtime, eventually negating what would have been a game-winning goal for Zach Werenski just before the buzzer.

The Blue Jackets went on to lose in the shootout –while also losing starting goalie Joonas Korpisalo to injury during the shootout — enraging the team’s coach.

On Monday, Colin Campbell addressed the situation from the league’s side.

Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch has the entire statement (you can read it here) but the two most notable excerpts are these:

3) The penalty assessed is “too many men” which requires an assessment of the play, i.e. too many men. Kane received the pass, then the officials made an assessment of the player going to the bench and blew the whistle after deciding it was too many men on the ice. The whistle does not sound as soon as Kane touches the puck. It’s not a delayed high stick, trip, etc.

4) The on-ice officials can always adjust the clock if they feel it is required. The official timer can notify the on-ice officials that there are issues at any time from his perspective. Toronto can get involved if we see issues. Assessing when the whistle is blown is hard for us to do sitting in Toronto and not being in the building live.

That does not really offer much of an explanation as to why the time was not put back on the clock. But it seems pretty clear from Campbell that it was, in the eyes of the league, a judgment call.

The league also called Tortorella’s comments and press conference “unacceptable.”

Tortorella expresses regret

Tortorella made one more statement regarding the situation on Monday. He began his media meeting by expressing some regret for the way he handled it on Sunday.

“I’m not answering questions about last night. At least as far as how I handled myself after the game,” said Tortorella.

“I ask my team to be disciplined, and I think it’s quite honestly a big part of our loss last night, was the lack of discipline with our team. I think the coach followed through with lack of discipline after the game with you guys.”

“If I have a problem with something that has gone on in the game, with whom or with what, I think it needs to be handled internally and not in the public manner as it was last night. You need to understand that. So don’t ask me questions about it, I’m not going anywhere near it. You can ask about the game, anything you want. I owe you time today because I didn’t give it to you  last night. But that is a total lack of discipline on my part.”

Tortorella also announced that Korpisalo’s injury is a knee injury and that is going to be “weeks” before he returns.

He has been a huge part of the Blue Jackets’ recent hot streak and climb back into playoff contention. Losing him is going to be a significant issue in the short-term.

More: Referee mistake costs Blue Jackets, sends John Tortorella into rage

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

 

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.