The Canadian federal government announced on Sunday that it has granted a travel exemption that will allow the winner of the North Division to travel back and forth between Canada and the United States for the Stanley Cup Semifinals. That exemption would also continue on for the Stanley Cup Final should either the Winnipeg Jets or Montreal Canadiens advance.
The exemption will allow the Canadian teams to travel back and forth, as well as the American teams to travel to Canada, without having to go through the two week isolation period that currently exists for non-essential travel into Canada.
Players will, however, have to go through daily COVID testing and will be in a modified bubble where they will not have contact with the general public.
“The National Hockey League is very appreciative of the decision by the Canadian government and the Federal health officials to allow the Canadian team that advances to the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals and, potentially, the Final, to host games in their own rinks,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. “As we did during our Return to Play last August and September in the Edmonton and Toronto bubbles and throughout the 2020-21 regular season, we have again worked closely with PHAC, and the provincial and municipal health authorities to develop a series of strict protocols that will protect the safety of all concerned.”
The Jets and Canadiens are the two remaining Canadian teams playing and one of them will be playing in the Semifinals. The winner of their series will play the winner of the Colorado Avalanche-Vegas Golden Knights series.
The Canadiens enter Game 3 on Sunday night (6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) with a 2-0 series lead after defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in the First Round. The Jets defeated the Edmonton Oilers in a four-game sweep.
The entire 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs were played in Canada (Toronto and Edmonton) in a bubble. The Third Round will be the first time since then that one of the United States based teams will travel to Canada for a game.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.
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.
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.
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.
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.