PHT Morning Skate: Jonathan Toews has to wear a team USA jersey

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— Team USA took home the World Junior Championship this past week with a shootout win over Canada in the gold medal game (featured in the video above).

That result meant Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, a regular on the Canadian national team over the years and a two-time gold medal winner at both the World Juniors and Olympics, had to pay up on his bet with teammate Patrick Kane and put on a Team USA jersey.

He does not look thrilled about it.

— The Colorado Avalanche made a waiver claim this week when they picked up forward Matt Nieto from the San Jose Sharks.

There was apparently at least one other team that had an interest in adding Nieto. That team: The Ottawa Senators. According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Citizen the Senators put in a claim on Nieto in an effort to add some forward depth to their roster but lost out on getting him because the Avalanche had the top waiver priority. Nieto has zero goals and two assists in 17 games this season with the Sharks and Avalanche. [Ottawa Citizen]

— St. Louis Blues goaltender Carter Hutton found a new and very interesting use for the batting cages at Busch Stadium. [St. Louis Blues]

— Another look at the declining number of enforcers in the NHL. [Associated Press]

— Former Boston Bruins great Milt Schmidt passed away this past week at the age of 98. At the time of his passing he was the oldest living former NHL player. That title now belongs to Chick Webster, a former member of the New York Rangers. He is 96. [The Hockey News]

— After not playing in an NHL game since the 2014-15 season Liam O’Brien might get an opportunity to play for the Washington Capitals against the Montreal Canadiens. His strong play in Hershey (18 points — five goals, 13 assists — in 28 games) earned him a call-up to the NHL. [Washington Post]

— The California Golden Seals were honored in San Jose over the weekend on the 50th anniversary of their entrance into the NHL at the start of the 1967-68 season. They were one of six teams to enter the league that year along with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and Minnesota North Stars. [NHL]

— The Minnesota Wild were 2-1 winners over the Ducks in Bruce Boudreau’s return to Anaheim. Check out the highlights.

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.”