U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is now taking aim at what he claims is the National Hockey League’s failure to seriously address the issue of concussions in that sport, and is asking NHL officials to respond to a series of safety-related questions.

Blumenthal sent a letter Thursday to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman that questions recent comments and emails by league officials that Blumenthal said demonstrates the NHL “understands the prevalence and danger of concussions in the sport but has chosen not to take them seriously.”

The senator’s letter to the NHL came one day before the league’s annual draft begins and less than three weeks after the end of the 2016 season. A spokesman for the NHL declined to comment Thursday on Blumenthal’s letter or his allegations the league isn’t taking the concussion issue seriously.

In recent years, Blumenthal has been a harsh critic of the NFL’s policies regarding concussions among its football players and efforts to prevent them.

“Earlier this year, the National Football League admitted for the first time that there is a link between playing football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE),” Blumenthal said in his letter.

“Unfortunately, the NHL’s response following the NFL’s admission has been dismissive and disappointing.”

Blumenthal cited the deaths of six former professional hockey players who showed evidence of concussion-related brain damage as clear indications of the risks of CTE for players.

In his press release, Blumenthal included a statement from the father of one of those players.

“For too long, the problem of concussions in hockey and the National Hockey League’s denials regarding the risks have gone unaddressed,” said Len Boogaard, father of former player Derek Boogaard, who was one of the NHL players whose brains showed evidence of CTE following their deaths.

“We have tried to get Commissioner Bettman to discuss the safety of his game and the impact it has on the long-term health of hockey players and have been met with only repeated denials regarding the risks,” Len Boogaard said.

Blumenthal also referred to a New York Times story that included emails written by NHL officials on the issue of concussions. One of those emails concerned fighting in the NHL, and said in part: “Fighting raises the incidence of head injuries/concussions, which raises the incidence of depression onset, which raises the incidence of personal tragedies.”

As a member of the Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over sports, Blumenthal asked the NHL to respond by July 23 to nine questions relating to concussions in hockey. The questions include, for example, whether the NHL acknowledges a link between concussions and CTE and whether the league has considered outlawing fighting in order to reduce the risk of head trauma.

PANTHERS: The team signed high-scoring defenseman Keith Yandle three days after acquiring his negotiating rights in a trade with the Rangers.

On Monday, Florida sent the Rangers a sixth-round pick in this week’s draft, and now owes New York a fourth-round pick next year after successfully signing the 29-year-old Yandle. He was set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

The deal is for a reported seven years at $6.35 million a season, with the first six seasons including a no-movement clause.

Yandle had five goals and 42 assists in 82 regular-season games with New York last season, his first full year with Rangers after parts of nine seasons with the Arizona Coyotes.

Florida traded speedy winger Rocco Grimaldi to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for goaltender Reto Berra.

The 23-year-old Grimaldi scored three goals and had two assists in 20 games for the Panthers last season. He spent a majority of the season with the AHL Portland Pirates, scoring 16 goals with 17 assists in 52 games.

Berra had a 2.41 goals-against average in 14 games last season with the Avalanche, before an ankle injury in December sidelined him.

PENGUINS: Pittsburgh announced center Evgeni Malkin will not need surgery for his injured left elbow.

Malkin, who initially suffered the unspecified injury March 11, will undergo rehabilitation and is not expected to miss any playing time, according to the team.

During the team’s exit interviews June 16, Malkin said he would need to undergo an MRI to determine if surgery was required.

The injury sidelined Malkin for 16 games including one postseason contest.