The Hockey Nuts Podcast, Season 2, Episode 19 is live!

Coming up on this episode of the Hockey Nuts, Steve and I get you caught up with all of the news of the past week around the hockey world. We are approaching the new year, and the Winter Classic.  We’ll get you prepped for this year’s edition of this great annual event.  The World Junior Championship is under way, and we’ll get you caught up with what has gone down so far in Buffalo.    We’ll have the details of all this plus the Minor League Hockey Minute, The NCAA hockey minute and our picks of the week

THN Season 2, Episode 19 (Episode 64) Show Notes 12/22-12/28

Music by Bensound at

Rangers highlights courtesy of MSG Network.  Bruins highlights courtesy of NESN.  Hurricanes highlights courtesy of Fox Sports Carolinas.  Other highlights and clips courtesy of NBC, NBC Sports Network, CBC, Sportsnet, and the National Hockey League.


Opening Tease:

  • Our 3 teams continue to play well
  • Winter Classic is only days away. We’ll have a full discussion about it.
  • World Juniors started this week. We’ll have details.
  • We’ll have all this and more.



Where we are:


How to get in touch with us:

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Bruins/Rangers/Canes updates

Bos:  3-1 W vs DET on 12/23, 5-1 W vs OTT on 12/27

Car: 4-2 W vs BUF on 12/23, 3-1 W vs MON on 12/27

NYR: 3-2 L vs TOR on 12/23, 1-0 SOW vs WSH on 12/27


Other Notable games:

Friday, 12/22:
Saturday, 12/23:
Sunday, 12/24: No Games
Monday, 12/25: No Games
Tuesday, 12/26: No Games
Wednesday, 12/27:
Thursday, 12/28:


NHL Standings:



NHL Transactions:

  • General manager Doug Armstrong has signed a four-year contract with a team option for a fifth year that would keep him with the St. Louis Blues through the 2022-23 NHL season. Armstrong joined the Blues as vice president of player personnel in 2008. He was named the 11th general manager in Blues history on July 1, 2010, replacing Larry Pleau, and is in the final season of a five-year contract signed in 2013.  The Blues are 337-185-56 since Armstrong was named GM, the NHL’s fourth-best record since the 2010-11 season. They’ve made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the past six seasons.
  • Other Transactions:  &




  • Forward Chris Kreiderof the New York Rangers is out indefinitely because of a blood clot in his right arm.  Kreider left the Rangers’ 1-0 shootout victory against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday with 22 seconds remaining in the first period because of what coach Alain Vigneault said was an upper-body injury. He played seven shifts totaling 5:04 of ice time and had two shots on goal.  Vigneault said Thursday that Kreider felt swelling in his arm before the game but was cleared to play after being examined by doctors. After the first period the swelling had increased and Kreider was sent to the hospital, where testing discovered the blood clot.  “In between the first and second [the swelling] got to a point where this was out of the ordinary,” Vigneault said. “So [doctors] sent him to the hospital and found it out.”  Kreider is tied for fourth on the Rangers in scoring with 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 37 games.
  • Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifelewill miss 6-8 weeks with an upper-body injury.  Scheifele was injured during the second period of the Jets’ 4-3 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday. He was hit by Oilers defenseman Brandon Davidson and crashed into the boards.  Scheifele has 38 points (15 goals, 23 assists) in 38 games, second on the Jets behind right wing Blake Wheeler‘s 42 (nine goals, 33 assists). He was seventh in the NHL with 82 points (32 goals, 50 assists) in 79 games last season.
  • Goaltender Corey Crawfordwas placed on injured reserve by the Chicago Blackhawks with an undisclosed injury Wednesday.  It is unknown how long Crawford will be out. He is eligible to return Jan. 3.  “I’m going to say indefinite now until we get him on the ice and know more,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told the Chicago Sun-Times.  Crawford is 16-9-2 this season but was pulled 13:22 into a 4-1 loss at the New Jersey Devils on Saturday after allowing three goals on seven shots. He is fourth in the NHL with a 2.27 goals-against average and third with a .929 save percentage in 28 games.  The Blackhawks recalled goaltender Jeff Glass from Rockford of the American Hockey League. Glass is 10-4-1 with a 2.60 GAA and .917 save percentage in 18 games with Rockford.  Glass is expected to back up Anton Forsberg in Crawford’s absence. The Blackhawks play at the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.
  • Columbus Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinsonwill be out 4-6 weeks and was placed on injured reserve Tuesday after fracturing his right foot Saturday.  Atkinson was struck by a slap shot from teammate Seth Jones in the first period of a 2-1 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers. He remained in the game and played 22:26, his fourth-highest ice time total of the season.  Atkinson signed a seven-year, $41.125 million contract on Nov. 17. He has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 32 games after leading the Blue Jackets with 35 goals last season and was a healthy scratch for the game against the Arizona Coyotes on Dec. 9.  Columbus is already without defensemen Zach Werenski (upper body) and Ryan Murray (upper body), each day to day. Forward Brandon Dubinsky is out for a month with a fractured orbital bone and forward Alexander Wennberg will be out 4-6 weeks with a back injury sustained in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Penguins on Dec. 21.  Wennberg was also placed on injured reserve Tuesday, and the Blue Jackets recalled forward Tyler Motte and defenseman Dean Kukan from Cleveland of the American Hockey League and added forwards Jordan Schroeder and Sonny Milano on emergency recall.
  • On IR / Off IR:


  • Ottawa Senators defenseman Fredrik Claessonhas been suspended for two games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head of Boston Bruins forward Noel Acciari during NHL Game No. 558 in Boston on Wednesday, Dec. 27, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today. The incident occurred at 15:01 of the first period. Claesson was assessed a match penalty for illegal check to the head.  Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Claesson will forfeit $6,989.24.
  • Arizona Coyotes forward Zac Rinaldohas been suspended for six games, without pay, for punching an unsuspecting opponent – Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard – during NHL Game No. 554 in Arizona on Saturday, Dec. 23, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced Wednesday.  The incident occurred at 8:52 of the second period. Rinaldo was assessed a match penalty under Rule 46.15.  Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Rinaldo will forfeit $22,580.64.

Other Interesting Stories:


  • None


  • Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal and Florida Panthers goaltender James Reimer  have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Dec. 24.  Rask started three of Boston’s four contests, going 3-0-0 with a 1.30 goals-against average and .954 save percentage to guide the Bruins (19-10-5, 43 points) to a perfect week.  Barzal posted six points, including a League-high four goals, in three games to power the Islanders (19-13-4, 42 points) to three out of a possible six standings points.  Reimer stopped 106 of 110 shots, compiling a 3-0-0 record, 1.33 goals-against average, .964 save percentage and one shutout to propel the Panthers (15-16-5, 35 points) to a perfect week.
  • Goaltender Johnny Bower, who spent 13 seasons in the minor leagues before putting together a Hockey Hall of Fame career that included helping the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup four times in the 1960s, died Tuesday of pneumonia. He was 93. “There is so much to appreciate in Johnny Bower’s accomplishments on the ice — including the four Stanley Cups and membership in the Hockey Hall of Fame — and yet there was so much more to the man who served his sport, his country and his community with such distinction,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “Johnny Bower enriched us all by sharing the pure joy he felt for the game he played and for the men who played it, with him and against him. It was a personal privilege to know him, a delight to be in his presence, and an honor to celebrate him as one of the 100 Greatest Players in NHL history.  Bower spent the equivalent of a full career in the minors before becoming a full-time NHL goaltender at age 34. Before retiring at 45, the “China Wall” (a nickname that had as much to do with his advanced age as it did his goaltending) won 250 games, including 37 by shutout, and had a 2.51 goals-against average.  “[He’s] the greatest athlete in the world,” his coach, Punch Imlach, once said of Bower. “By wanting to be the best so badly, he overrode the aging process.”  Born John Kiszkan in the wilderness village of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Bower grew up poor as the only boy in a family of nine children. At 15, Bower lied about his age to enlist in Canada’s army and was sent to England in 1940. He was discharged in 1943 with rheumatoid arthritis in his hands, an ailment that would plague him throughout his hockey career, and embarked on a journey through the minor leagues.  The NHL at that time was a six-team league in which full-time backup goaltenders were a rarity, so Bower (he changed his name after turning pro) played with Cleveland of the American Hockey League from 1945-53. He won the Hap Holmes Award as the AHL goalie with the lowest GAA and was named league MVP three times each.  Bower signed with the New York Rangers for the 1953-54 season and played every minute of all 70 games, finishing with a 29-31-10 record, a 2.60 GAA and five shutouts. But he lost his job to rookie Gump Worsley before the 1954-55 season and spent almost all of the next four years back in the minors, ending up with Cleveland again in 1957-58.  “I was sick of jumping around the country and I wanted to settle down with my family,” Bower would say. “Cleveland was going to be my home.”  But Imlach, the general manager and coach of the Maple Leafs, had other ideas. Imlach visited Bower during the summer of 1958, then drafted him from Cleveland. At age 34, Bower established himself as Toronto’s No. 1 goaltender, helping the Maple Leafs move from last place in 1957-58 to the Stanley Cup Final in 1959 and 1960.  In 1962, Bower and the Maple Leafs defeated the Chicago Blackhawks for their first championship since 1951.  Toronto won the Cup again in 1963 and 1964. The third championship came a few months before Bower’s 40th birthday.  Bower, who played without a mask for most of his career, became known as the inventor of the poke-check. He would aggressively leave the crease and try to poke the puck away from an onrushing attacker. The move wasn’t without risk: During his career, Bower lost nearly all of his teeth and on one occasion caught a skate to the face, knocking one of his teeth through his cheek.  After losing in the semifinals in 1965 and 1966, the Maple Leafs stumbled into the 1967 Stanley Cup Playoffs; they had finished third, 19 points behind first-place Chicago, during the regular season. But Toronto upset the Blackhawks in the thanks to the goaltending duo of Bower and 37-year-old Terry Sawchuk. The Maple Leafs’ opponent in the Final was the Canadiens, who were going for their third consecutive championship.  Bower replaced Sawchuk after a Game 1 loss and shut out Montreal 3-0 in Game 2, then made 52 saves in a 3-2 double-overtime win in Game 3. He was injured during warmups before Game 4, but Sawchuk helped Toronto finish a six-game series victory that gave the Maple Leafs their fourth championship in six years.  Bower retired in 1970 as the second-oldest goaltender to play in the NHL. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976. But he continued to strap on the pads for a few years after his retirement, serving as a practice goalie when one was needed.


Power Ranking:

  1. Tampa Bay (1)
  2. Vegas (4)
  3. Nashville (2)
  4. New Jersey (7)
  5. Los Angeles (3)
  6. Boston (11)
  7. Winnipeg (5)
  8. St Louis (6)
  9. Washington (8)
  10. Columbus (9)
  11. Toronto (10)
  12. Rangers (12)
  13. Islanders (16)
  14. San Jose (13)
  15. Carolina (21)
  16. Minnesota (17)
  17. Dallas (14)
  18. Chicago (15)
  19. Pittsburgh (19)
  20. Calgary (18)
  21. Anaheim (22)
  22. Philly (20)
  23. Colorado (23)
  24. Edmonton (25)
  25. Montreal (24)
  26. Florida (29)
  27. Vancouver (26)
  28. Detroit (27)
  29. Ottawa (28)
  30. Buffalo (30)
  31. Arizona (31)



Looking ahead:

Bos:  @ Wsh on 12/28, @ Ott on 12/30, @NYI on 1/2, vs FLA on 1/4

Car: vs Pit on 12/29, @ STL on 12/30, vs WSH on 1/2, @PIT on 1/4

NYR: @ Det on 12/29, @BUF on 1/1 (WC), vs CHI on 1/3



Other Notable games:

Thursday, 12/28:
Friday, 12/29:
Saturday, 12/30:
Sunday, 12/31:
Monday, 1/1:
Tuesday, 1/2:
Wednesday, 1/3:
Thursday, 1/4:



Minor League Hockey Minute

Wayne:  World Juniors update:

Steve:  Jud Ritter –



College Hockey Minute:


Maine –  off last 2 weeks


Upsets of ranked teams:

NO Games last week

19 members of Team USA play in NCAA…



Big games this week (both teams ranked):  none (All teams off this week)



December 11, 2017

Team (First Place Votes) Record Points Last Poll
1 St. Cloud State (35) 12- 2-1 978 2
2 Denver ( 8) 9- 3-4 918 1
3 Notre Dame ( 6) 16- 3-1 907 4
4 Clarkson ( 1) 15- 3-1 893 3
5 Cornell 10- 2-0 760 6
6 North Dakota 10- 5-5 758 5
7 Minnesota State 11- 5-0 694 8
8 Northeastern 10- 5-1 617 10
9 Ohio State 10- 4-4 566 15
10 Minnesota 10- 9-1 519 7
11 Providence 10- 7-1 516 9
12 Western Michigan 10- 8-1 433 11
13 Wisconsin 10- 9-2 335 12
14 Boston College 9- 7-2 327 14
15 Penn State 11- 7-2 322 18
16 New Hampshire 9- 7-1 260 13
17 Minnesota Duluth 8- 9-2 150 17
18 Colgate 8- 6-4 129 16
19 Union 10- 8-1 74 19
20 Canisius 10- 5-1 69 NR
Others receiving votes: Bowling Green 61, Colorado College 50, Miami 37, UMass Lowell 33, Omaha 26, Boston University 20, Harvard 16, Michigan 14, Massachusetts 10, Niagara 4, Army 2, Bentley 1, Maine 1 (33rd).

Pairwise Rankings:




Picks of the week:

  • Steve: Henrik Figure
  • Wayne:    Nate Vila scored himself an incredible Christmas present Friday.  The West Springfield, Massachuestts native shot the puck through a narrow hole from the opposite blue line, winning a new car during the second intermission of the American Hockey League game between the Springfield Thunderbirds and Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  “It’s incredible,” Vila told “I was so speechless, and I didn’t know what to do; I honestly didn’t even think I’d made it at first, then I saw everyone go nuts.”  Vila, who is 22 and lives with his mom and grandma, recently enlisted in the United States Army and will report for duty in Fort Benning, Georgia on Jan. 2.  “Pretty much that has been my main focus,” Vila said, “until tonight.”  After scoring, Vila was mobbed by the Thunderbirds mascot, and the team sought him out to congratulate him after its 5-4 victory.  “Merry Christmas to me,” he said. “It was incredible. I can’t believe it.”


Listener Feedback / Action item for the week


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