Rangers name defenseman Jacob Trouba captain

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NEW YORK — The New York Rangers have named defenseman Jacob Trouba captain.

Rangers president and general manager Chris Drury announced the selection in a news release Tuesday morning, and the team held a news conference with Drury, Trouba and coach Gerard Gallant at the team’s practice facility in Greenburgh, New York, in the afternoon.

Trouba, a first-round selection by Winnipeg in the 2012 draft, was acquired from the Jets on June 17, 2019. He has totaled 20 goals and 58 assists in 189 games over the last three seasons with the Rangers.

“Anyone that has been around our team for the last few seasons I think certainly understands the impact Jacob has had on our group, day to day, day in, day out, on ice, off ice, game days or practice days,” Drury said. “He’s a terrific leader and we think he’ll be a great Rangers captain for years to come.”

The 28-year-old, an alternate captain the last two seasons, is the 28th captain in franchise history, and the first since Ryan McDonagh was traded in 2018.

“It was just the right time,” Drury said. “Jake was basically doing the job for at least a couple of seasons and we just felt like it was appropriate and now’s the time, and we’re excited to see the `C’ on him.”

Trouba is one of three defensemen currently serving as captain in the NHL, joining Jared Spurgeon (Minnesota) and Roman Josi (Nashville). He is the 12th defenseman to serve as captain in franchise history.

“I believe in this group and the group of players we have and I’m just really grateful for this opportunity and look forward to leading this team,” Trouba said.

In the first season under Gallant last year, the Rangers had six alternate captains – Barclay Goodrow, Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome, Mika Zibanejad and Trouba. Strome, a free agent after the season, signed with Anaheim last month.

“We had a group of core leaders and if anybody had an issue, or wanted to talk, we would meet, call a meeting and discuss it and figure out how you want to address it,” Trouba said. “That’s going to have to continue going forward. I think all of our leadership group has different strengths, different qualities, different relationships with other players and people, and we use each other as well as we can to navigate through every situation.”

Last season, he had a career-high 11 goals, 28 assists and a career-best plus-minus rating of plus-25 in 81 games. Trouba had 177 blocked shots, the second-most in the NHL, and was the only player in the league with more than 175 blocks and more than 200 hits. He also had a goal and four assists over 20 games in the Rangers’ run to the Eastern Conference Final.

For his career, he has 62 goals and 195 assists in 597 games over nine seasons with the Jets and Rangers.

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.