PHT Morning Skate: Mike Smith obliterates stick after allowing five goals

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–It was a tough night at the office for Coyotes goalie Mike Smith. He allowed five goals on 31 shots in a 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday. After Matt Puempel scored the Rangers’ sixth goal, Smith took his frustration out on his stick. (Top)

–ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun sat down with former Maple Leaf Wendel Clark, who will be suiting up in Saturday’s Centennial Classic alumni game at BMO Field. “Well, it’s a lot of fun,” Clarke said of playing outdoors. “You get back to the roots of it [when you’re] outside playing. This one is a little fancier than the weeds growing on the side of the ponds where we started. But it’s always a great reminder — and a spectacle and fun for the players as well as the fans.” (ESPN)

–If you haven’t heard of Rasmus Dahlin yet, I’m sure that’s going to change in the near future. The 16-year-old is currently playing with Sweden at the World Junior Hockey Championship and despite his young age, he’s been terrific. Dahlin is expected to be the first overall pick in the 2018 draft and he’s drawing comparisons to players like Erik Karlsson and Victor Hedman. (WorldJunior2017.com)

–With so much parity in the league, the NHL has become incredibly unpredictable. Any team can win on any given night. Who thought the Devils could go into Washington with their backup goalie and come out on top? Here are the highlights from New Jersey’s shootout win:

–When he was 11, Devils rookie Miles Wood sent Alex Ovechkin a letter asking for an autograph. Wood warned Ovechkin that if he didn’t send a signature back, he’d have to bodycheck him when they met in the NHL. Ovechkin didn’t reply at the time, but Wood finally got that autograph last night. “When I was in warmups, I looked over at him and we smiled at each other type of thing. It was good to see him out there. He’s huge in person. That’s something I learned,” said Wood. (Bergen Record)

Brandon Saad wrote a fantastic piece for The Players’ Tribune. He talked about growing up in Pittsburgh, winning two Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks and he discussed the incredible run the Blue Jackets are on right now. “As tempting as it is to look at the standings, or to try to picture where this team is going, we can’t do that. We really are taking it slow. We’re just trying to improve on what we’ve started here. Torts makes sure we run a very professional locker room, and that we don’t get too high or too low,” Saad said of his current team. (The Players’ Tribune)

–After being traded from the Canadiens to the Predators, P.K. Subban performed a standup routine during Montreal’s Just for Laughs festival over the summer. The show was a success, as he had everyone cracking up throughout his set. But Subban admitted that making people laugh in that setting isn’t easy. “Remember, I did it in a city where everybody knows me, where I played hockey and everybody there was a hockey fan. They go to cities where maybe some people aren’t as familiar with them where they have to kind of earn the respect of the room and that’s really tough,” said Subban. (CBC)

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.”