The Hockey Nuts Podcast, Season 2, Episode 34 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. The NHL playoffs are wrapping up round 1 and heading into round 2.  Steve and I will get you caught up with everything that has happened in each series.   Plus, we will also Preview Round 2.  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 34 (Episode 79) Show Notes 4/19-4/25


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:

  • Playoffs!!!
  • 2 guarantees, 2 fails.
  • Slow on the ice but huge, just 12 games in the NHL since last podcast, but 10 of them were potential elimination games, where at least one team in those 10 games were facing elimination at that time.
  • We’ll have all this and more.



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NHL Transactions:

  • The Minnesota Wild fired Chuck Fletcher as executive vice president and general manager on Monday. Owner Craig Leipold told Fletcher his contract would not be renewed and said a search for a replacement will begin immediately. Brent Flahr, the Wild’s senior vice president of hockey operations, will be the acting GM.  The Wild were eliminated by the Winnipeg Jets in five games in the Western Conference First Round following a third-place finish in the Central Division (45-26-11, 101 points).  Leipold stated Fletcher’s firing was not a direct result of the loss to the Jets, rather a reflection of Minnesota’s poor history in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Fletcher, 50, became the second GM in Wild history when he was hired May 21, 2009, replacing Doug Risebrough. He is the son of longtime NHL executive Cliff Fletcher, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.  Minnesota has qualified for the playoffs each of the past six seasons but has won two postseason series and lost three straight first-round series. The Wild are 4-16 in their past 20 playoff games.  Leipold said Boudreau, who was hired by Fletcher to replace Mike Yeo as coach on May 7, 2016, will be consulted but will not be a part of the interview process. He also added, “I’d say our coaching staff right now is not going anywhere.”
  • Bill Peters was hired as coach of the Calgary Flames on Monday. Peters, who resigned as coach of the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday, received a multiyear contract. He replaces Glen Gulutzan, who was fired April 17 after the Flames missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the seventh time in nine seasons.  The Flames were 37-35-10, fifth in the Pacific Division, and missed the playoffs by 11 points after qualifying last season, Gulutzan’s first as coach. Calgary’s home record of 17-20-4 was the fourth worst in the NHL, and its power play (16.0 percent) was tied for 28th. The Flames also scored an NHL-low 61 third-period goals.  Peters was the only person interviewed to replace Gulutzan.  “At the time we made the decision for a change last week, I had gone and asked for permission to speak with Carolina regarding Bill’s availability, and I want to thank the Carolina Hurricanes for their cooperation in that process,” general manager Brad Treliving said. “We were able to move forward with Bill.”  Peters and Treliving have worked together before. Peters coached Canada to the gold medal at the 2016 IIHF World Championship, with Treliving serving as co-GM.  “There’s some great candidates out there,” Treliving said. “This wasn’t one based upon hiring a friend, per se. Bill and I don’t have a long relationship; we had a situation where we worked together over a small period of time. But you do your homework. This is somebody I believe fully in. This is somebody I have been around enough to know, the network of people I talked to, to not formalize a thought but solidify a thought I got.  Peters had one year remaining on his contract before exercising his opt-out clause with Carolina. The Hurricanes were 137-138-53 and did not qualify for the playoffs during his four seasons as coach.  “You have to be hungrier,” said Peters, who will coach Canada at the 2018 World Championship in Copenhagen and Herning, Denmark, from May 4-20. “That’s no problem. I have no issue with that. We’re going to set realistic expectations and they’re going to be high. Expectations are great to have.  “If you have high expectations, that means you’re legitimate. You’re in the hunt. You don’t want to be in a situation where there are no expectations, there are no demands, because it means you aren’t close enough. This group is right there.”  Peters, born in Three Hills, Alberta, 80 miles northeast of Calgary, was hired six days after Gulutzan was fired.  Peters said the decision to step down in Carolina was not one taken lightly. He had one year remaining on his contract and an opt-out clause he needed to exercise by Friday.  “It kept coming back to the fact that a new [general manager] deserves the opportunity to hire his own coach. And especially when you combine it with a new owner and a new GM, I think they need to chart their own path.”  “Really a great area, with great people in the community,” Peters said of his time in Carolina. “I worked with a ton of great people. I’m thankful for the effort from the players in our four years. I’m thankful for the fans’ support. They’re very passionate fans. … It’s all positive memories for me, it really is.”  The Dallas Stars and New York Rangers also do not have a coach.
  • College/Jr Signings:
  • Other trades:
  • Other Transactions:  &





  • Philly injuries: Top-line center Sean Couturier missed Game 4 (a 5-0 loss) because of a torn MCL in his right knee. He returned and scored the game-winning goal in Game 5 and had five points (three goals, two assists) in Game 6.  Provorov played Game 6 despite an injury to his left shoulder that limited his effectiveness. He led them in postseason ice time at 24:52 per game and was matched against Penguins star Sidney Crosby all series.  “It’s playoffs,” said goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who didn’t dress until Game 4 because of a lower-body injury. “Everyone’s hurting right now. It’s same for both teams.”
  • Colorado injuries: The Avalanche played without No. 1 goalie Semyon Varlamov and their best all-around defenseman, Erik Johnson. Varlamov injured his knee against the Chicago Blackhawks on March 30, two days after Johnson crashed into the boards against the Philadelphia Flyers and fractured his kneecap.  The Avalanche lost defenseman Samuel Girard for three games to a lower-body injury. He returned for Games 5 and 6. Goalie Jonathan Bernier started the first four games, but he sustained a lower-body injury in the second period of Game 4.  Andrew Hammond, who played in one NHL regular-season game, stopped all eight shots he faced in the third period after Bernier couldn’t continue. He started Games 5 and 6, making 44 saves in a 2-1 win and 32 saves in the series-ending loss.
  • Minnesota Injuries: Two players don’t make a team but losing defenseman Ryan Suter and forward Zach Parise hurt — a lot.   Suter, who led the Wild in ice time per game (26:47) and their defensemen in scoring (51 points; six goals, 45 assists), was out since March 31 with a broken right ankle.  Parise led the Wild with three goals in the series before he fractured his sternum in Game 3 and missed Games 4 and 5.
  • Evgeni Malkinand Carl Hagelin did not practice with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday and each is day to day, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said after Pittsburgh’s first skate since advancing to the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Washington Capitals.  A lower-body injury held Malkin, the Penguins’ second-line center, out of their 8-5 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round, a best-of-7 series Pittsburgh won in six games. He had five points (three goals, two assists) in five games.  Hagelin, the second-line left wing, also missed practice; he sustained an upper-body injury when taking a hit from Flyers forward Claude Giroux at 9:31 of the second period Sunday.
  • Zach Werenskiplayed most of the season for the Columbus Blue Jackets with an undisclosed injury.  Werenski, one of 10 Columbus players made available to the media Tuesday, less than 24 hours after being eliminated by the Washington Capitals in six games in the Eastern Conference First Round, said he never fully recovered after he was injured Oct. 30 against the Boston Bruins.  “I can think every night I go out there I’m 100 percent, but the truth is I wasn’t,” said the 20-year-old defenseman, who had 37 points (16 goals, 21 assists) and a plus-8 rating in 77 games. Werenski, who often missed practice for a maintenance day, wouldn’t say whether surgery will be required.
  • Joe Thorntonwon’t play Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round for the San Jose Sharks against the Vegas Golden Knights.  Thornton, who has been practicing since March 23, skated on the fifth line again Sunday, but coach Peter DeBoer said the 38-year-old center’s return is not on his radar.  Thornton hasn’t played since injuring his right knee against the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 23. He had surgery to repair his right medial collateral ligament.  Defenseman Brent Burns (undisclosed) missed his second consecutive practice but skated with assistant coach Rob Zettler beforehand. Burns missed the final 10 minutes of Game 3 in the first round but had an assist in Game 4 to help the Sharks to a four-game sweep of the Anaheim Ducks.  “Maintenance day,” DeBoer said. “He’ll be fine.”  Burns hasn’t missed a game since the 2013-14 season, when he sat out 13 with sore gums. Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon said he’s not concerned.
  • Andre Burakovskydid not play after game 2 for the Washington Capitals against the Columbus Blue Jackets because of an upper-body injury and needs minor surgery, coach Barry Trotz said Friday. Trotz said it is possible the 23-year-old forward would be able to return later in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Burakovsky, the No. 23 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, had 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 56 regular-season games and no points in the first two playoff games against Columbus.  Burakovsky missed 19 games from Oct. 26-Dec. 6 after having surgery to repair a fractured left thumb Oct. 24.
  • On IR / Off IR:


Other Interesting Stories:


  • Rod Brind’Amour is interested in becoming the next coach of the Carolina Hurricanes. “If you never try, you’ll never know,” Brind’Amour, a former captain and current assistant with the Hurricanes, told The News & Observer on Saturday. “The reason for saying ‘why not?’ is I’ve been doing it for eight years and I really believe I can help out one way or the other and see if I can put us over the hump.  “I don’t think as an assistant I’m going to get any better or learn any more. So now’s the time. … They’re going to find the best guy to do it and if it’s me, that’s great — and if not, I understand. But I felt like I could at least step up and see if it could happen.”  The Hurricanes have a coaching vacancy after Bill Peters resigned Friday. He went 137-138-53, and Carolina failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of his four seasons. The Hurricanes were 36-35-11 this season, 14 points behind the New Jersey Devils for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes have not made the playoffs since 2009.  Brind’Amour, 47, was captain of the Hurricanes when they won the Stanley Cup in 2006. He has been an assistant since the 2011-12 season.  “He’s a good coach and I learned a lot from him,” Brind’Amour said of Peters. “What he was thinking, I don’t know because we never talked about it. But I just know he was very competitive and maybe he felt the way we were set up we weren’t competitive enough. But that’s me speculating.”  Tom Dundon took over as majority owner of the Hurricanes on Jan. 11 and reassigned former general manager Ron Francis, who remains with the organization as president of hockey operations. Carolina does not have a GM.  “It’s been refreshing for me,” Brind’Amour said of the ownership change. “He’s put himself in the fire too, and I like that. He’s trying to do it all, but I don’t think he’s going into it saying, ‘This is the way it’s going to be.’ He’s asking a lot of questions from everybody in the organization. He’s certainly passionate about what he’s doing, so I give him a lot of credit for that and I like that.  “You get the feeling we’re either going to kill it or we’re going to get killed. To be honest, I like taking that chance. Obviously, we’ve been mired in, whatever the word is, mediocrity or whatever, but I think everybody would like to see us in one place or the other but not stuck in the middle. Tom wants to know what’s going on at every level and improve it at every level.”
  • David Quinn was named coach of the United States for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. The announcement was made Friday on NHL Now, in conjunction with USA Hockey.  The 2019 World Junior Championship will take place Dec. 26, 2018-Jan. 5, 2019 in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.  Quinn, who has coached Boston University for the past five seasons, will help oversee approximately 40 players at the 2018 World Junior Summer Showcase at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, in August. The U.S. will be joined by Canada, Finland and Sweden.  Quinn is 105-68-21 at BU. He’s coached the Terriers to four straight NCAA tournament appearances (2015-18), two Hockey East tournament championships (2015, 2018) and the 2015 Beanpot title. He was named Hockey East and New England Coach of the Year in 2015.  Quinn has helped groom many college players into professional athletes, including Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel, Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Kellerand Minnesota Wild forward Jordan Greenway. Four players from BU were selected in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft (Keller, McAvoy, defenseman Dante Fabbro and forward Kieffer Bellows).  BU left wing Brady Tkachuk, No. 2 in NHL Central Scouting’s final list of North American skaters eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22-23, is expected to be among the first five players chosen.



  • Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland, Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmondsand Winnipeg Jets right wing Blake Wheelerwere named finalists for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award. The award is given annually to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season and plays a role in his community growing the game of hockey.   The winner will be announced at the 2018 NHL Awards presented by Hulu at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 20.  Messier solicited suggestions from teams and League personnel and fans, but the former Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks captain makes the final selection of the three finalists and the winner.
  • Mathew Barzalof the New York Islanders, Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks and Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes were named finalists for the Calder Trophy on Sunday. The award is given to the best rookie in the NHL.  The winner will be announced at the 2018 NHL Awards presented by Hulu at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 20.  Barzal was chosen by the Islanders with the No. 16 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. The 20-year-old center led all rookies with 85 points (22 goals, 63 assists), 20 more than the next closest player (Keller).  Boeser, a 21-year-old right wing, was selected by the Canucks with the No. 23 pick in 2015. He finished second among rookies in goals (29) and fifth in points (55) in 62 games; he missed the final 16 games of the season because of a back injury sustained in a game against the Islanders on March 5.  Keller was the No. 7 pick of the Coyotes in the 2016 NHL Draft. The 19-year-old center had 65 points (23 goals, 42 assists), second among NHL rookies and most by a Coyotes rookie since the franchise relocated from Winnipeg to Arizona in 1996.
  • Brian Boyle(New Jersey Devils), Roberto Luongo (Florida Panthers) and Jordan Staal (Carolina Hurricanes) were named Saturday as the three finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The award is presented annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.  Boyle, a 33-year-old forward, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone marrow cancer, during training camp. He worked his way back into the New Jersey lineup by Nov. 1 and scored 10 goals in his first 25 games, including one on the Devils’ Hockey Fights Cancer Night at Prudential Center, a 3-2 win over Vancouver on Nov. 24. Boyle missed three games after his season debut and represented the Devils at the 2018 Honda NHL All-Star Game.  Luongo, 39, overcame hand and groin injuries to power the Panthers’ late playoff push. Florida’s all-time leader in wins, shutouts and appearances by a goaltender missed more than two months before returning on Feb. 17 to help the Panthers defeat Calgary 6-3. In a 13-game span, Luongo went 9-3-1 with a 2.44 goals-against average and .928 save percentage. On Feb. 22, Luongo delivered a heartfelt, unscripted speech to the crowd at BB&T Center prior to Florida’s game against the Washington Capitals. The 12-year resident of nearby Parkland, Florida, addressed the recent Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting during the Panthers’ pregame ceremony to honor the victims.  Staal, a 29-year-old center, showed great strength amid a family tragedy. In late February, Staal and his wife, Heather, announced their daughter, Hannah, was delivered stillborn due to a terminal birth defect previously diagnosed by doctors. Staal, who had assumed a bigger leadership role with the Hurricanes by being named co-captain before the season, missed three games following the tragedy.
  • Aleksander Barkov(Florida Panthers), William Karlsson (Vegas Golden Knights) and Ryan O’Reilly(Buffalo Sabres) were named finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy on Friday. The award is given annually to the player voted to best combine sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and ability.  Barkov, a 22-year-old center, had an NHL career high 78 points (27 goals, 51 assists) but just 14 PIMs, the most by a Panthers player since Olli Jokinen (91 points; 39 goals, 52 assists) in 2006-07.  Karlsson, a 25-year-old center, finished third in the NHL with 43 goals and led the League with a plus-49 rating in 82 games. He took six minor penalties.  Karlsson would become the first player to win an end-of-season trophy for a team in its inaugural NHL season since Wayne Gretzky won the Hart and Lady Byng trophies for the Edmonton Oilers in 1979-80.  O’Reilly, a 27-year-old center, had 61 points (24 goals, 37 assists) and won 1,274 face-offs, the most by any player since the NHL began tracking the statistic in 1997-98. He received one minor penalty, the fewest of any player with at least 41 games played.
  • Victor Hedmanis a Norris Trophy finalist for the second straight season.  The Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman, who finished third in 2017, is vying to become the first Lightning player to win the award given to the defenseman who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-around ability at the position. Hedman’s competition is Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings and K. Subban of the Nashville Predators.  Hedman, 27, scored 17 goals and 63 pts, tied for first with Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers and Dougie Hamilton of the Calgary Flames among NHL defensemen.  Doughty, 28, had an NHL career-high 60 points (10 goals, 50 assists) in 82 games and led the League in total time on ice (2,200:31) and average ice time (26:50) while helping the Kings allow a League-low 202 goals.   Doughty won the Norris in 2016, and this is the fourth time he’s a finalist for the award.  Subban, 28, helped the Predators lead the League in goals (56) and points (206) by defensemen. His 16 goals were an NHL career high, and his 59 points were one behind his personal best set with the Montreal Canadiens in 2014-15.  Subban won the Norris with the Canadiens in 2013 and is a finalist for the third time. He would be the first Predators defenseman to win the trophy.



Power Ranking:

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








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