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.

Senators are up for sale, buyer must keep team in Ottawa

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OTTAWA, Ontario — The Ottawa Senators are on the market.

The board of directors of Senators Sports & Entertainment said a process has been initiated for the sale of the NHL club. The board retained Galatioto Sports Partners, a firm specializing in the sports finance and advisory business, as its financial adviser.

“A condition of any sale will be that the team remains in Ottawa,” the team said in a news release.

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk died on March 28 at age 62 after battling an illness. He had previously said he planned to leave the team to his daughters, Anna and Olivia.

Melnyk purchased the Senators in 2003 for $92 million at a time when the franchise faced bankruptcy and a tenuous future in the nation’s capital.

A recent valuation from sports-business news outlet Sportico listed the Senators at $655 million.

The team’s day-to-day operations has been handled by the board of directors since Melnyk’s death.

Under Melnyk, the Senators played in the Stanley Cup final in 2007 when Ottawa lost in five games to the Anaheim Ducks. Ottawa nearly returned to the Cup final a decade later but lost the deciding game of the conference final in double overtime. Since that loss, the Senators have missed the playoffs in five straight seasons.

Melnyk’s relationship with the Senators’ fanbase soured as the years went on.

The owner’s comments before a 2017 outdoor game in Ottawa, indicating he could move the team in the future if attendance didn’t increase, sparked a “(hash)MelnykOut? campaign on city billboards and social media.

Ottawa is off to a 4-6-0 start this season despite a talented young core and series of significant offseason moves like acquiring forwards Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat.

The team has played at the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata since the arena opened in 1996. But the team has again expressed interest in building an arena at a site in Ottawa.

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.

Training camps open around NHL after another short offseason

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Training camps open around the NHL after another short offseason, a third in a row squeezed by the pandemic. That doesn’t bother Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon one bit.

For one of hockey’s best players and his teammates, it’s already time to get back on the ice and defend their Stanley Cup title, less than three months since they knocked off the back-to-back champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I still feel like I just was playing,” MacKinnon said. “I took two weeks off, and then I started skating again. It’s just fun. I enjoy it, and I like the short summer. It feels like the season’s just kind of rolling over again.”

The NHL rolls into fall coming off an entertaining playoffs and final with the chance to finally get back on a normal schedule. That means full camps for teams that got new coaches and the benefits of a regular routine.

That means a mere 88 days between Game 6 of the final and the first-on ice practice sessions.

“We’re kind of used to it now,” Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy said after he and the Lightning lost in the final for the first time in three consecutive trips. “It’s a little harder, of course, because you don’t have that much time to rest. It’s basically a few weeks and you have to get back at it. But, yeah, I can’t complain. You want your summers to be short every year.”

It was a little longer for Connor McDavid and the Oilers after losing to Colorado in the West final. Despite the lack of downtime, McDavid “wouldn’t trade that in for anything” and aims to make it even further since Edmonton shored up its goaltending situation by adding Jack Campbell.

A few spins of the goalie carousel ended with the Avalanche acquiring Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers and Cup winner Darcy Kuemper landing with Washington. Joining new teammates, many of whom hoisted the Cup in 2018, Kuemper is not worried about less time off.

“It was definitely a very unique summer,” Kuemper said. “With how short it was, you start getting back into the gym and you’re kind of a little bit worried that your training’s going to be so short. But you kind of felt like you weren’t getting back into shape. You were already there.”

NEW COACHES

The Oilers are one of several teams settling in for training camp under a new coach. Jay Woodcroft took over as interim coach in February but has the full-time job now.

“Looking forward to a camp with him,” McDavid said. “He did a great job coming in during the middle of the season, but it’s never easy on a coach, for sure. I’m sure there’s things that he wanted to touch on that you wasn’t able to kind of in the middle of the year, so he’ll be able to to touch on all of it this year.”

The same goes for Bruce Boudreau in Vancouver, 11 months since being put in charge of the Canucks. Philadelphia’s John Tortorella, Boston’s Jim Montgomery, Vegas’ Bruce Cassidy, Dallas’ Peter DeBoer, Florida’s Paul Maurice, Chicago’s Luke Richardson, Detroit’s Derek Lalonde and the New York Islanders’ Lane Lambert are all starting the job fresh.

CAMP TRYOUTS

Roughly 40 players are attending a camp on a professional tryout agreement with the chance to earn a contract for the season. James Neal has that opportunity with the Blue Jackets, and Derek Stepan returned to Carolina to seek a job with the Hurricanes.

The most intriguing situation involves 37-year-old center Eric Staal, who agreed to the tryout with Florida the same time brother Marc signed a one-year contract. Younger brother Jordan was with Eric and Marc on the 18th green at Pebble Beach to witness the occasion.

“They’re both just super pumped, as was I,” said Jordan Staal, who is the captain of the Hurricanes. “Eric is excited about the opportunity and Marc, as well. Really cool. Really cool thing.”

EARLY START

Before the puck drops on the NHL season in North America on Oct. 11, the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks play twice in Prague on Oct. 7 and 8. And those are not exhibitions.

“We still play two important games,” said Sharks forward Tomas Hertl, who is a native of Prague. “It’s not just preseason where you coming here to warm up.”

Colorado and Columbus will also play two games in Tampere, Finland, on Nov. 4-5 as part of the NHL’s Global Series.

And just as the league gets used to a regular schedule, work is ongoing between the league and NHL Players’ Association to stage a World Cup of Hockey in February 2024, which is popular among players even if it knocks the calendar off kilter again.

“I think they missed out on a huge, huge portion of the international game that’s really going to be missed,” McDavid said. “We need to figure out a way to get an international tournament in as quickly as possible.”

Longtime NHL defenseman Zdeno Chara, 45, retires as Bruin

David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

BOSTON — Zdeno Chara announced his retirement after playing 21 seasons in the NHL and captaining the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup in 2011.

The 6-foot-9 defenseman from Slovakia is calling it a career at age 45. He returned to TD Garden in Boston to make that announcement two years after splitting with the Bruins following 14 seasons.

Chara won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman in 2009 and also spent time with the New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals. Known more for his ability to keep the puck out of the net than putting it in, Chara still scored 237 goals and added 523 assists for 750 points in 1,880 regular-season and playoff games.

His 1,680 regular-season games played is a record for defenseman. He is a candidate for the Hockey Hall of Fame based not only on his consistency but also his stature in the game from Slovakia to North America.

Chara was the second European captain to win the Cup, following Swede Nicklas Lidstrom with Detroit. He was one of the faces of a winning era for the Bruins, which also included trips to the final in 2013 and 2019, the latter of which he finished while playing with a broken jaw.

Drafted by the Islanders in the third round in 1996, he played his first four seasons on Long Island before getting traded to the Senators. Boston signing him in 2006 remains one of the most impactful free agency signings in the 17 years of the NHL’s salary cap era.

Chara made five of his six All-Star Game appearances while with the Bruins and was one of the city’s most popular athletes during that time. He left in 2020 when the team would not guarantee him a full-time job for the entire season, so he signed a one-year deal with Washington before finishing his playing career with the Islanders.