Oilers’ Kassian suspended two games for altercation with Tkachuk

Tkachuk Kassian trash talk
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The NHL has suspended Zack Kassian of the Oilers two games for violating Rule 46.2 (Aggressor) during Saturday’s game against the Flames. Matthew Tkachuk, who was the subject of Kassian’s ire during Saturday’s “Battle of Alberta,” was not fined or suspended.

The suspension stems from the battle which began with a first period hit by Tkachuk on Kassian that went unpenalized. Things continued late in the second period when Tkachuk nailed Kassian behind the Flames net, which set off the Oilers forward.

Here’s the Department of Player Safety’s explanation for the two-game suspension:

Here’s a key piece of the explanation:

“Kassian acknowledges he was seeking retribution for this hit and previous hits thrown during the game. While he acknowledges frustration, players are not excused from grossly violating league rules in retribution or retaliation for hits thrown on them — legal or otherwise.”

After the game, which Calgary won 4-3, the two engaged in a war of words, which included Kassian calling Tkachuk a “p—-y” and Tkachuk calling Kassian a “fourth liner.”

On whether he believes Kassian’s actions were worthy of a suspension, Tkachuk said on Monday, “It’s not my call. I’m happy I don’t have to make those decisions. Those guys have a really tough job.”

As for not dropping the gloves to fight Kassian, Tkachuk said , “[It] was probably the right thing to do right there. If it was a different type of player, maybe. Maybe someone closer to me out there, maybe. But it wasn’t the right time to do it against the right person.”

The Flames and Oilers will see each other in two weeks when they play a home and home on Jan. 29 and Feb. 1. Kassian will be eligible to return beginning with that first meeting.

Kassian snaps on Tkachuk, throws punches in wild attack
Tkachuk, Kassian talk big-time trash after brawl


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.

Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

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OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

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.