Author: Mike Halford

Rob Scuderi, Travis Hamonic

Hamonic suffered torn MCL on Scuderi hit, no surgery required

The day after the Isles were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, news finally started to surface about their injured players — specifically, defenseman Travis Hamonic.

Hamonic, who missed the entire Washington series with an undisclosed ailment, revelaed he suffered a torn MCL on a hit from Pittsburgh’s Rob Scuderi in the second-to-last game of the regular season (as pictured).

That was Hamonic’s last hockey-related activity of the year though, per Newsday, the tear didn’t require surgery — in fact, Hamonic was holding out hope of a Round 2 return, should the Isles have won Monday’s Game 7.

There’s no denying Hamonic was missed. The 24-year-old averaged nearly 22 minutes per night this season and broke out offensively, scoring a career-high 33 points in 71 games. Hamonic was also largely assigned the task of defending Alex Ovechkin during the Isles’ regular-season tilts against the Caps, a job that fell to Johnny Boychuk instead.

Boychuk fared well against Ovechkin but, with injuries also hitting blueliners Calvin de Haan and Lubomir Visnovsky, the Hamonic ailment was even more pronounced. On Monday, the Isles were forced to play AHL recall Scott Mayfield and little-used Matt Donovan a combined 26:24 against Washington.

Here’s the Stanley Cup playoffs Round 2 schedule

Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators - Game Four

The NHL released its schedules for the second playoff round on Tuesday — two schedules, to be precise.

The first is contingent upon Tampa Bay winning Wednesday’s Game 7 against Detroit and advancing to face Montreal in Round 2. The second, obviously, is contingent upon Detroit winning and moving on to face the Habs.


As for some of the potential scheduling quirks:

• We could see our first back-to-back scenario of the playoffs if the Bolts advance. Games 3 and 4 of the Tampa Bay-Montreal series would be played on May 6/7, with both games being played at Amalie Arena.

• Regardless of who wins, there’ll be a sizable gap between Games 1 and 2 of the Calgary-Anaheim series. The opener will go on Thursday, Apr. 30 and the second game will be played on Sunday, May 3 — both at the Honda Center. (If Detroit wins, Game 3 would come after another two-day break, as the Flames and Ducks would play in Calgary on Wednesday, May 6. If Tampa Bay wins, Game 3 goes on Tuesday the 5th.)

Dallas has really cornered the market on hip surgeries

Jamie Benn

The Dallas Stars are quickly becoming experts in the field of hip surgery.

Captain and Art Ross winner Jamie Benn had his first last week, and is now resting up before undergoing another. Alternate captain Trevor Daley had his on Thursday, Ales Hemsky had his on Monday — and these came after a regular season in which Valeri Nichushkin went under the knife in November (granted, he had groin problems in addition to hip issues.)

Oh yeah, last April defenseman John Klingberg had double hip surgery.

But it’s not like the Stars are freaking out or anything.

“There is concern whenever you have surgery, but we feel good about the timing and about the time that each will have to rehabilitate properly,” GM Jim Nill said, per the Dallas Morning News. “If you have to deal with these during the season, then you miss almost all of the season.

“If you take care of it now, then you’re ready to go.”

The hope, of course, is that everybody will be rehabbed, healthy and ready to go for the start of next year, so Dallas can avoid the same slow start that derailed its playoff hopes in 2014-15. Injuries certainly played their role: Nichushkin missed almost the entire season with his ailment, Klingberg was slow getting out of the gate following his procedure and Patrik Nemeth was gone for months following a serious skate laceration.

As for Benn, Daley and Hemsky, Nill admitted all three were slowed this year by their respective ailments. Benn and Daley didn’t seem to show it — the former had a career-high 87 points, the latter a career-high 16 goals — but Hemsky was a major disappointment and looked out of sorts all season long.

“I think you look at all three, and all three were limited by the injuries,” Nill said. “I expect them to come back and be even better next season when they’re completely healthy.”

Berube surprised by firing: ‘I expected to come back and coach again’

Craig Berube

To hear Craig Berube explain it, his dismissal in Philadelphia came as a bit of a shock.

“I think yeah, you’re always surprised when you get let go,” Berube told Philly’s 94WIP Morning Show on Tuesday. “I expected to come back and coach again.

“Decisions are made, Ron [Hextall, Flyers GM] has to do what’s best for the hockey team and that’s what he did.”

Berube, who inherited the Flyers gig from Peter Laviolette three games into the 2013-14 campaign, went 75-58-28 over the course of two seasons, making the postseason in ’14 before falling short this year.

As both he and Hextall suggested, missing the dance led to his dismissal.

“Well I just think that, like he [Hextall] said, I didn’t get enough out of the team,” Berube said. “He believed it was a playoff team and I do believe it was a playoff team too, but there was some stuff.

“Injuries, different situations that came up that costs us the playoffs and a lot of times it comes down to the coach.”

As for the “stuff” Berube’s referring to? Well, his handling of starting goalie Steve Mason — and, to a lesser degree, dismissed goalie coach Jeff Reese — came under scrutiny this season, as did his relationship with veteran center Vinny Lecavalier. The Flyers also had a subpar penalty kill (77.1 percent, fourth-worst in the NHL) and took the 11th-most penalties in the league, though their disciplinary issues did improve from Berbube’s first year on the job to his second.

All those issues seemed to pale in comparison to underachieving, however. Hextall wasn’t alone in thinking the Flyers were a playoff team — owner Ed Snider was pretty outspoken about his belief Philly should’ve been in the postseason as well.

“It’s not like we don’t have pieces,” Snider said, per “Now the question is, do we want those pieces to just die on the vine? And go for a long-range plan? And eventually they’re gone? Who’s going to replace them?

“So there’s a question of potential trades, free-agent signings, draft picks surprising you. I don’t like to give the impression that, ‘Hey, we aren’t going to win.’ It’s Ron’s job to analyze why. Why did this same team that made the playoffs fall?”

Poile: Preds hoped Franson trade ‘would work out better’

Dallas Stars v Nashville Predators

GM David Poile met with reporters today in the wake of Nashville’s first-round playoff elimination to Chicago and, in doing so, admitted his big trade deadline move — acquiring Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli from Toronto — simply didn’t work out.

Franson, a pending UFA, was a major disappointment for the Preds (partially because they surrendered a first-round pick and prospect Brendan Leipsic to acquire him). The 27-year-old had six goals and 32 points in 55 games at the time of the trade and was averaging more than 21 TOI per night — upon pulling the trigger, Poile called Franson “a veteran defenseman who could play in all situations,” adding he’d “seamlessly fit into our team.”

But that didn’t happen.

Franson saw his ice time slowly dwindle after making his Nashville debut on Feb. 21, to the point where he was a virtual non-factor by April.

Franson then missed Game 1 of the Chicago series and, while he drew back in for the final five contests and recorded a pair of assists, his ice time still hovered between a mere 14-15 minutes per night — and that was after Shea Weber exited the series in Game 2.

Looking ahead, it seems as though Franson’s second go-round with the Preds is over. The club sounds unlikely to offer him a new contract, which means that — despite this poor spell in Music City — he’ll still be one of the more coveted free agent defenseman hitting the market on July 1.