Sedin twins, Luongo and Alfredsson inducted to Hall of Fame

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TORONTO — Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Canucks teammate Roberto Luongo, former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, Finnish women’s national team player Riikka Sallinen and Herb Carnegie were welcomed into the Hockey Hall of Fame as the class of 2022 on Monday.

The Sedin twins and Luongo were elected in their first years of eligibility back in June, while Alfredsson had waited since 2017. The induction of the Sedins and Alfredsson increased the number of Swedish players in the hall from four to seven.

Selected No. 3 overall at the 1999 NHL draft – one spot behind Daniel – Henrik Sedin owns a big chunk of Vancouver’s record book as its leader in assists (830), points (1,070) and games played (1,330) in his 17 seasons.

The center playfully offered his 2 cents in the never-ending debate about whether he or his brother – who both terrorized a generation of defenders with their vision and skill – was better.

“I missed 30 games in my career and Danny’s production was not the same,” he said with a smirk. “In 2010, Danny missed 20 games . I had 11 goals and nine assists.

“With Daniel I was barely a 20-goal scorer. Without him I would have been a career 45-goal scorer.”

Henrik won the Hart Trophy as league MVP and the Art Ross Trophy as its leading scorer in 2009-10. He added 78 points in 105 playoff games that included the Canucks’ run to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

“You have always been a calming influence in my life,” Daniel, who spoke before Henrik, said of his brother. “In my mind, you are both a better hockey player than me (and) better person than me.

“And I’m saying this sincerely, but also knowing that he will stand up here in about 10 minutes.”

Daniel Sedin’s 393 goals – many of them off a pass from Henrik – top Vancouver’s all-time list, while he sits second behind his brother in assists (648), points (1,041) and games played (1,306). He put up 71 points in 102 playoff appearances.

“I want to thank whoever it was that selected me to speak first,” Daniel said with a laugh. “It reminds me of draft day.”

Daniel won the Ted Lindsay Award as league MVP voted by NHL Players’ Association members as well as the Art Ross in 2010-11.

Henrik Sedin paid tribute to his brother’s drive.

“To know that someone would be in the gym every morning waiting for me on the days I felt like taking a day off, that’s what made me the player I was,” he said.

Luongo, who played eight seasons with the Sedins in Vancouver, was drafted by the New York Islanders and retired with the Florida Panthers, but the goaltender’s days on the West Coast paved the way for his enshrinement.

The 43-year-old ranked third in NHL history with 489 wins when he retired in 2019 after 19 seasons. He sits second in games played (1,044), shots against (30,924) and saves (28,409).

Luongo said when he got the news he would be inducted, the first thing he asked was if the Sedins would be joining him.

“Wanted it so bad,” he said. “Proud to say that I played with you guys.”

Luongo twice won 40 games with the Canucks and made at least 70 appearances in four straight seasons.

A three-time Vezina Trophy finalist as the league’s top goalie, he finished second in the 2007 Hart voting and won two Olympic gold medals (2010, 2014) with Canada.

“I’ve never been around anyone with the same determination and willingness to do anything to get better,” Henrik Sedin said.

Alfredsson registered 444 goals, 713 assists and 1,157 points during his 18 NHL campaign, which included 17 with the Senators. He added 100 points in 124 playoff contests.

An unknown sixth-round pick when he arrived in the nation’s capital, Alfredsson won the Calder Trophy in 1996 as NHL rookie of the year.

Ottawa’s all-time leader in goals, assists and points, he captured Olympic gold in 2006 for Sweden alongside the Sedins and guided Ottawa to the 2007 Cup final – a first for a European captain.

Alfredsson paid tribute to former teammates, trainers and coaches, including the late Bryan Murray, but also touched on a cause close to his heart.

“The pressures of hockey for some can become unbearable,” he said. “Mental health issues are a reality of our game. We’re long overdue to finally erase the stigma.”

Sallinen, who wasn’t in attendance, played 16 seasons with her national team, won Olympic bronze 20 years apart (1998, 2018) and is the first non-North American woman inducted into the hall. She added a silver at the 2019 world championships to go along with six third-place showings.

Carnegie, who died in 2012 at age 92, has often been mentioned as the most talented Black player to never reach the NHL.

Following a long career in senior leagues where he faced racism that kept him from achieving his ultimate dream, Carnegie founded Future Aces, one of Canada’s first hockey schools, in 1955. His work at the grassroots level pushing for more diversity led to his induction into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

Nathan MacKinnon sidelined about a month with upper-body injury

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DENVER — The injury-riddled Colorado Avalanche will be without leading scorer Nathan MacKinnon for about a month after he suffered an upper-body injury in a loss to Philadelphia.

The team announced the news on social media.

MacKinnon has eight goals and 26 assists for a team-best 34 points this season for the defending Stanley Cup champions. He joins a long list of banged-up players, including Valeri Nichushkin, Evan Rodrigues, Bowen Byram, Kurtis MacDermid, Josh Manson, Darren Helm and captain Gabriel Landeskog. Forward Artturi Lehkonen also missed the game in Philadelphia.

The 27-year-old MacKinnon signed an eight-year extension in August. He was coming off a postseason in which he tied for the league lead with 13 goals, helping the Avalanche raise their third Stanley Cup in franchise history.

Former Bruins coach Cassidy wins; Boston’s home streak ends

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
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BOSTON — The Vegas Golden Knights made former Boston coach Bruce Cassidy’s return a success on Reilly Smith‘s score in the fifth round of the shootout, beating the Bruins 4-3 to end their NHL-record for home victories to open a season at 14 games.

The 57-year-old Cassidy was fired by Boston following 5 1/2 seasons in June after the Bruins were eliminated by Carolina in the opening round of the playoffs.

Eight days after he was let go, he was hired by Vegas.

In a matchup of two of the league’s top three teams, Western conference-leading Vegas opened a 3-0 lead early in the second period on two goals by Paul Cotter and the other by Jonathan Marchessault before the Bruins started their comeback when Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak scored just over six minutes apart late in the period.

They tied it on Taylor Hall‘s power-play goal 3:08 into the third when he spun in front and slipped a shot from the slot past goalie Logan Thompson.

Smith had the only score in the shootout, slipping a forehand shot past goalie Jeremy Swayman.

Cassidy took over as Boston’s interim coach on Feb. 7, 2016, before getting the head job that April. His teams made the playoffs all six seasons, including a trip to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final when they lost the seventh game at home against St. Louis.

Cassidy knows what it sounds like in TD Garden with The Standells’ song “Dirty Water” blaring after Bruins’ wins.

“Now that you brought it up, I’m used to hearing “Dirty Water” at the end of the game,” he said, smiling. “I’m glad I didn’t hear it tonight. The streak is irrelevant to me. It’s nice to come in and play well.”

Boston lost for just the second time in 12 games.

“This locker room sticks together, and we knew we were going to do something special tonight,” Swayman said. “It (stinks) losing, but we’re going to make sure we fix the problems.”

The Bruins’ home-opening streak broke the record of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

Before the shootout, Thompson made 40 saves. Boston’s backup Swayman had 21.

“This city meant a lot to him, and he was fired up ready to go,” Thompson said of Cassidy. “We went out there and tried to get him two points tonight.”

Cotter collected William Karlsson‘s pass inside the left circle and unloaded a wrister under the crossbar 1:36 into the game.

Marchessault stole Pastrnak’s attempted clearing pass, broke in alone and tucked in his own rebound to make it 2-0.

Cotter’s second came 51 seconds into the second period when he slipped a wrister past Swayman’s glove.

“We couldn’t get it done early, before the shootout. We had chances,” Pastrnak said. “It’s a tough one to swallow.”

Vegas star forward Jack Eichel missed the game with a lower-body injury.

TRIBUTE

The Bruins played a video montage of Cassidy on the Jumbotron late in the opening period that ended with a picture of him and said: “Welcome back, Bruce.”

The crowd gave him a nice ovation and he waved thanking them.

“It’s a really nice gesture by the Bruins’ organization,” he said. “I appreciate it. I said all along that I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. I’m thankful they did it.”

FOR THE RECORD

Cassidy finished tied for third on the Bruins’ coaching list with Hall of Famer Milt Schmidt (1955-66) at 245 victories, behind Claude Julien’s (2008-17) 419 and Art Ross (1925-45) with 387.

EXTRA SPECIAL TEAMS

The Bruins entered the game ranked second in the league both with their power play (29.6%) and penalty killing (84.1%).

UP NEXT

Golden Knights: Host the New York Rangers.

Bruins: At the Colorado Avalanche.

Penguins plot a way forward as Letang recovers from stroke

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PITTSBURGH — Kris Letang returned to the ice on Thursday, just three days after suffering the second stroke of his career.

The “twirl” the longtime Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman took at the club’s practice facility was approved by team doctors, a spin designed to help Letang’s mental health and nothing else. While the 35-year-old remains upbeat, it remains far too early to put a timeline on when his familiar No. 58 will return to the lineup.

Though Pittsburgh general manager Ron Hextall indicated this stroke isn’t as severe as the one Letang endured in 2014 – when a hole in the wall of his heart led to a stroke that forced him to miss two months – the six-time All-Star is continuing to undergo tests.

There are no plans for Letang to participate in any sort of hockey-specific drills anytime soon, with coach Mike Sullivan stressing the club will “err on the side of caution” when it comes to whatever rehab Letang might need.

While Letang – one of the most well-conditioned players in the NHL – essentially went through the motions by himself, his teammates were 30 minutes south at PPG Paints Arena getting ready for a visit from Vegas and trying to plot a way forward without one of the franchise cornerstones, at least in the short term.

Letang made it a point to help break the news to the rest of the Penguins following a 3-2 overtime loss to Carolina on Tuesday. Pittsburgh scratched Letang from the lineup with an unspecified illness and he spent a portion of the game watching from the press box next to Hextall.

Afterward, Letang informed a somber locker room about his condition, a revelation that came as a shock even as he did his best to reassure those around him that he was and is OK.

“It’s very serious health stuff,” defenseman Chad Ruhwedel said. “You hear about strokes and it’s never really good so we’re just glad to see he’s doing well and everything is good with him.”

Sullivan understands it would be practically impossible for any of the other defensemen on the roster to replicate what Letang brings to the ice, so he’s not going to ask any one player to try. There are few players at the position in the NHL who have Letang’s mix of speed, skill and almost bottomless energy.

The highest-scoring defenseman in franchise history is averaging a team-best 23:54 of ice time and has long been a fixture on the power play and in just about every crucial late-game situation.

“I just think Tanger is not an easy guy to replace,” Sullivan said. “I don’t think from a tactical standpoint things change drastically. It’s just personnel based. But as you know, personnel can mean a lot in those types of situations.”

It’s more than that, however. This isn’t a routine injury. There’s an emotional component and an unknown element to Letang’s status even as the Penguins insist they don’t believe his condition is career-threatening.

“This is a whole different circumstance than an ankle injury or a shoulder injury,” Sullivan said. “This is a very different circumstance.”

Letang’s on-ice presence is just one aspect of his importance to a team that has never missed the playoffs since he made his debut in 2007. He’s become a mentor to younger teammates like 23-year-old defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph, who like Letang is French-Canadian and who, like Letang, plays with a graceful fluidity.

Joseph, who declined to get into specifics about Letang’s message to the team on Tuesday night, believes the best thing the Penguins can do during Letang’s absence is attack the game with the same passion he’s shown for 17 seasons and counting.

“The way he plays for the team every single night and the way he puts his heart and soul into the game on the ice, it’s the least we can do is have our thoughts of him whenever we get on the ice,” Joseph said.

Sullivan shuffled the lineup on Tuesday, elevating veteran Jeff Petry and Brian Dumoulin to the top defensive pair. Petry possesses a skillset that’s not too far removed from Letang’s, but it’s also his first year in Pittsburgh. Asking him to provide the leadership that’s innate to Letang is unfair. It’s one of the reasons Sullivan is insistent that it will take a group effort to fill in for a singular presence.

“We have some diversity on our blue line right now,” Sullivan said. “We feel like we have guys capable of stepping in and getting the job done for us and we’re going to try and do that.”

LA Kings put goaltender Cal Petersen on waivers

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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings put goaltender Cal Petersen on waivers, a surprising move for a player once considered the successor in net to two-time Stanley Cup winner Jonathan Quick.

Petersen, 28, went on waivers the day after allowing four goals on 16 shots in relief of Quick during a 9-8 overtime loss to the Seattle Kraken. Quick was pulled after giving up five goals on 14 shots.

Only one NHL goalie has a save percentage lower than Petersen’s .868 this season, Elvis Merzlikins of the Columbus Blue Jackets with .864. Petersen is 5-3-2 in 10 games with a 3.75 goals-against average in his third full season with the Kings and fifth overall.

L.A. signed Petersen to a three-year, $15 million contract in September 2021, and he figured to take the starting job from Quick, who turns 37 in January and is set to be a free agent after the season. Petersen has two years left on that deal after this one at an annual salary cap hit of $5 million.