So, who replaces Hunter in Washington?

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With reports of Dale Hunter stepping down in Washington now confirmed, the Capitals will turn their attention to finding a new head coach.

GM George McPhee said the Caps will take their time finding a new bench boss, but also indicated (to the Washington Post) they “might have someone in place at the draft.”

With that in mind, here’s a list of the potential candidates making the rounds…

Ron Wilson

/cue Caps fans running for nearest cliff

Okay, before everybody goes freaking out, there are two legit reasons why his name is here.

1) Despite the horrendous stint in Toronto, Wilson’s coaching resume is still remarkably strong — over 1400 games and 600 wins.

2) He’s got a history with the organization and McPhee. Wilson took the Caps to three 40-plus win seasons and the Cup finals in 1998; he and McPhee were hired together as coach and GM in 1997.

Of course, McPhee fired Wilson in 2002.

Bob Hartley

After winning a Swiss league title with the ZSC Lions, Hartley seems poised to make his return to the NHL.

Here’s what Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini told ESPN (paywall) about Hartley:

“The man wins championships.

“Bob’s daily work ethic is outstanding. He’s the first guy at the rink and he doesn’t leave until 6 or 7 o’clock. The Swiss players had never seen anything like this. They thought he was crazy.”

The feathers in Hartley’s cap? His 2001 Stanley Cup with Colorado and the fact he was the only coach able to get the Atlanta Trahsers into the playoffs, a feat that gets more impressive the more you remember how dysfunctional the organization was.

Dean Evason

Washington’s longest-serving assistant, 13-year NHL veteran, sack-grabbing enthusiast (NSFW, language.)

Marc Crawford

If only because his name comes up whenever there’s a job opening in the NHL. That’s what you get when you win a Stanley Cup, even if it was 16 years ago.

Others

— Since Wilson and Crawford warranted mention (under the NHL’s coach recycling program), might as well throw former Hartford/Toronto/Carolina head coach Paul Maurice in the mix.

— New York Rangers assistant Mike Sullivan is one of the hotter (in a coaching sense, pervs) candidates at the moment and has head man experience from his time in Boston.

— Ex-Chicago assistant Mike Haviland could get a sniff, though I don’t know what (if anything) that questionable ouster did to his reputation.

Report: ‘Hawks could add Ulf Samuelsson to coaching staff

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The Chicago Blackhawks are searching for an assistant coach, and Ulf Samuelsson might just be their guy.

According to the Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune, Samuelsson is the “top candidate” to replace Mike Kitchen, who was fired after the ‘Hawks were swept by the Nashville Predators in the opening round the playoffs.

The obvious connection here, is that Samuelsson and head coach Joel Quenneville were teammates with the Hartford Whalers back in the 1980s.

Samuelsson, 53, was an associate coach with the Arizona Coyotes from 2006 to 2011 and he was an assistant with the New York Rangers from 2013 to 2016. Last season,  he served as the head coach of Carolina’s farm team, the Charlotte Checkers.

He led the Checkers to a 39-29-8 record during the 2016-17 AHL campaign.

2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for Monday, May 22

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Will the Nashville Predators become the first team to clinch a berth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final? We’ll find out tonight.

The Preds were able to push the Ducks to the brink of elimination after their impressive win in Game 5 on Saturday night.

Nashville was able to get the job done without centers Ryan Johansen and Mike Fisher. We know Johansen will be out for Game 6, but maybe Fisher can give them a boost.

Here’s what you need to know:

Anaheim Ducks vs. Nashville Predators (Preds lead 3-2)

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream live here)

Check out the highlights from Nashville’s 3-1 win in Game 5

Related:

Ducks will be without Eaves and Rakell in Game 6

Pontus Aberg ‘face planted’ before scoring game-winning goal in Game 6

PHT Morning Skate: Is it time for the Wild to blow up their roster?

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–Former NHL head coach Don Cherry weighed in on Preds fans throwing ducks on the ice during games, and he’s not a fan. “I know there’s duck hunters and all that, that’s OK, duck hunters, they have an even chance. And you’re gonna say, ‘Well yeah, Cherry, you had the octopus.’ Okay, but that octopus, we got it from a fish market, it was already dead.” (Sportsnet)

Mats Zuccarello was driving around in Norway when he noticed a kid shooting pucks into a net. The Rangers forward pulled over and made sure to have a good chat with the youngster. (New York Daily News)

–Team USA may have failed to pick up a medal at the World Hockey Championship (again), but with plenty of young talent on the roster, the future appears to be bright for the program. It’s too bad the NHL is deciding not to go to the Olympics though. (New York Post)

–The Pittsburgh Penguins annihilated the Ottawa Senators, 7-0, last night. You can see each one of those goals by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–To drum up interest in the Golden Knights, the team organized a “Sticks for Kids” street hockey clinic over the weekend, and over 1500 kids left there with a stick and a ball. “We want to get them started learning the game at a young age. It’s a process, from putting a stick in their hands to learning to skate to then learning to play. We want to hit all demographics. We want everyone in Las Vegas to feel involved and welcomed. We don’t want it to be an afterthought for anyone.” (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

–The Minnesota Wild got off to a great start this season, but they faded down the stretch and were eventually bounced in the opening round of the playoffs. Now, some people in Minnesota are wondering if it’s time for the Wild to blow things up and start from scratch. It would allow them to draft a high-end offensive talent, but is it the right approach? (Minneapolis StarTribune)

–After their Game 5 win in Anaheim, the Predators were greeted at the local airport by over 1000 fans. It was a pretty wild scene:

Former Blackhawks defenseman Bill White dies at 77

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Bill White, who played 604 career regular season games in the National Hockey League, has passed away, the Chicago Blackhawks announced Sunday.

He was 77 years old.

More from the Blackhawks:

White spent seven years in the minors before the National Hockey League grew from six to 12 teams in 1967. When the expansion Los Angeles Kings gained his rights, he immediately earned acclaim as an extraordinary stay-at-home defenseman. During the 1969-70 season, Pat Stapleton of the Blackhawks incurred an injury. With his club a serious contender, General Manager Tommy Ivan acquired White from the Kings. When Stapleton returned, he and White formed one of the NHL’s finest blue-line tandems, the former expertly generating offense and the latter adept at laying back.

He scored 50 goals and 265 points during his time in the league.

In addition to playing for the Kings and Blackhawks, White was also a member of Canada’s 1972 Summit Series team, which defeated the Soviet Union in an epic eight-game series.

“A younger generation might not understand what we went through,” White once told the Toronto Sun. “I’m still asked about playing in the series at least twice a week.”