Empty Netter Assists - 12-29-09

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Sidney Crosby (above) was named the Canadian Press Male Athlete of the Year. He previously won the award in 2007.

-An interesting sidenote to that story, since the award was founded in 1932, only 12 hockey players won it. That's it 12? In 77 years of an award for CANADIAN ATHLETES, only 12 HOCKEY players have won it? Granted, a few of those hockey players have won it multiple times, but still, that's like the equivalent of Neil Armstrong never winning astronaut of the year.

-Speaking of Crosby, MSG Plus used him (sorta) in a commercial for Wednesday's Penguins-Devils game:

-The Pensblog is ranking the top 20 Penguins goals of the decade. They start with No. 6 through 20.

-Dustin Jeffrey had two goals and an assist for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 4-3 win against the rival Adirondack Phantoms. Linemate Nick Johnson added three assists while John Curry made 32 saves in the win.

-In seven games, the Jeffrey-Johnson-Mark Letetsu line has combined for 31 points.

-Happy 57th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Tom Bladon. A member of the Flyers' Stanley Cup championship teams in 1974 and 1975, the "Bomber" was acquired in a trade in the 1978 offseason that also brought Ross Lonsberry and Orest Kindrachuk to the Penguins in exchange for a first-round draft pick in 1978.

-Happy 48th birthday to former Penguins forward/defenseman Tom O'Regan. He appeared in 51 games for the dreadful 1983-84 team and recorded 14 points.

Atlantic Division

-Scoreboard Watch for the Penguins: Zach Parise broke a 12-game goal-scoring slump by netting two goals and leading the Devils to a 3-2 defeat of the Thrashers. Teammate Niclas Bergfors added two assists while Martin Brodeur made 24 saves in the win. Marty Reasoner led Atlanta with a goal and an assist.  The Devils, who have won six out of their past seven games, are in first place in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division with 55 points, two more than the Penguins who are in fourth and second place respectively. The Thrashers have lost five consecutive games.

-Check out the pass by Patrik Elias to set up Parise's second goal:

"Yeah, now you (reporters) can stop asking me about it every day." - Parise on breaking out of his slump.

-Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador suffered a "lower-body" injury.

-Brodeur reached out for this save:

-Steely glaring times for Brodeur:

-The Thrashers and their shadows. Jim Slater:

-Evander Kane:

-Ondrej Pavelec:

-And Eric Boulton:

-Excited times for Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk (center), Tobias Enstrom and Pavel Kubina:

-With forward David Clarkson (leg) being taken off injured reserve, the Devils demoted defenseman Matt Corrente to Lowell of the AHL.

-It didn't take long for Clarkson to get back into the swing of things with Thrashers forward and former Penguin Chris Thorburn:

-Clarkson also had issues with Atlanta's Boris Valabik:

-Rangers forward Vaclav Prospal will be sidelined two to three weeks following knee surgery.

-The New York Daily News ranked former Penguins forward and Rangers coach the fifth worst New York coach (in any sport) of the decade.

-Claimed off waivers from the Hurricanes earlier this month, goaltender Michael Leighton has spearheaded the Flyers' three-game winning streak.

-Two Flyers fans are riding a tandem bicycle from Philadelphia to Boston for the Winter Classic in the name of charity.

-Could Penn State's appearance in the Capital One Bowl impact television ratings for the Winter Classic in Philadelphia?

Northeast Division

-Chris Campoli, Chris Neil and Peter Regin each had a goal and an assist for the Senators in a 4-2 defeat of the rival Canadiens. Pascal Leclaire (above, with Montreal's Brian Gionta) made 29 saves in the victory. A goal by Mike Cammalleri in the first period was the 20,000th in the Canadiens' history. Montreal had a four-game winning streak snapped.

-Check out the adjustment Benoit Pouliot made in tight to score his first goal as a Canadien:

-Canadiens defenseman and former Penguin Hal Gill got up close and personal with Ottawa's Milan Michalek:

-Gill threw his big butt into Ottawa's Peter Regin:

-Cool Photo of the Night: Ottawa coach Cory Clouston and his charges:

-Some fans are more excited for the second intermission than others:

-To say the least, the Winter Classic will have a Boston-heavy feel to it. James Taylor will sing the national anthem while the Dropkick Murphys will also preform prior to the game.

-"It’s not a surprise for me. The way I’ve played so far this year, I didn’t put enough points on the board, and secondly, the coach has pretty much decided to stay with the same team that won the world championship." - Senators forward and former Penguin Alex Kovalev on being left off Russia's Olympic roster.

Southeast Division

-Scoreboard Watch for the Penguins: Eric Staal had two goals and three assists for the Hurricanes in a 6-3 win at Washington. Jussi Jokinen added a goal and two assists for Carolina while teammate Tuomo Ruutu recorded a goal and an assist. Cam Ward (above) made 28 saves in the victory which snapped a three-game losing streak. Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green each had a goal and an assist for Washington. The Capitals are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 54 points, one more than the fourth-place Penguins.

-Green (left) and Ovechkin tried to match offensive totals and funny faces:

-We're not sure what Washington's Alexander Semin did, but a lot of people on his team looked pretty mad at him:

-Mike Smith made 31 saves an led the Lightning to a 2-1 defeat of the Bruins. Kurtis Foster recorded two assists for Tampa Bay which has one four out of its past five games. Boston had a three-game winning streak snapped.

-The Capitals traded captain Chris Clark and defenseman Milan Jurcina to the Blue Jackets in exchange for forward Jason Chimera. In addition to acquiring a feisty, left-handed shot in Chimera, the Capitals cleared about $2.2 million in salary cap room with the deal.

-"It's a hard situation for us because we lost our captain and a great guy." - Ovechkin on Clark.

-"My wife is crying, my kid is crying, I'm fighting back tears." - Chimera on the trade.

-During Sunday night's Cowboys-Redskins games, there were apparently almost as many Ovechkin jerseys at FedEx Field as Sidney Crosby jerseys at the Verizon Center.

-The Lightning recalled defenseman Mike Lundin from Norfolk of the AHL and demoted goaltender Riku Helenius to Norfolk.

-Sidelined due to a knee injury since Nov. 20, Panthers forward Cory Stillman is expected to return to the lineup tonight. With Stillman and forward Rostislav Olesz (flu) healthy, the Panthers demoted forwards Steve MacIntyre and Shawn Matthias to Rochester of the AHL.

Central Division

-Steve Mason made 34 saves and led the Blue Jackets to a 1-0 overtime win against the Red Wings. Fredrik Modin scored the winning goal which snapped a franchise-record nine-game losing streak. Jimmy Howard made 39 saves in the loss.

-"It was good to win a game -- finally." - Modin, who chose a good time to score his first goal of the season.

-Play was actually delayed in overtime for... well... this:

-Detroit's Brad May had a wild bout with Columbus' Jared Boll:

-Check out this hit Columbus' Alexandre Picard had on Detroit's Doug Janik and the subsequent fight between the two:

-Crazy Stat of the Night: Since Dec. 19, Todd Bertuzzi is the only Red Wings player who has scored a goal.

-The Blackhawks demoted forward Bryan Bickell to Rockford of the AHL.

-Defenseman Brian Campbell might be playing his best hockey since joining the Blackhawks as a free agent in 2008.

-The Predators demoted defenseman Alexander Sulzer to Milwaukee of the AHL and put forward Dave Scatchard on waivers.

Northwest Division

-Eric Belanger (above, with Martin Havlat) had two goals and an assist for the Wild in a 4-3 win at Los Angeles. Teammate Cal Clutterbuck added two assists while Niklas Backstrom made 29 in the victory which was the third in a row for Minnesota. Drew Doughty and Scott Parse each had a goal and an assist for the Kings who have lost three consecutive games.

-The Wild recorded its 10th win of December and matched a franchise record for most victories in a month.

-Rene Bourque's third career hat trick gave the Flames a 4-1 win against the rival Oilers. Teammate Olli Jokinen recorded two assists while Miikka Kiprusoff made 34 saves in the victory. The Oilers, in last place in the Western Conference, have lost seven consecutive games.

-Odd Fight of the Night: Calgary captain Jarome Iginla and Edmonton's Ladislav Smid:

-Calgary's Dustin Boyd had issues with Edmonton's Andrew Cogliano:

-Calgary's Robyn Regehr had some issues with Edmonton's Steve Staios:

-Awesome Photo of the Night: Kiprusoff and Regehr doing something to Edmonton's Gilbert Brule:

-The Canucks recalled forward Alexandre Bolduc from Manitoba of the AHL.

-A sprained MCL will sideline Wild forward Chuck Kobasew four to six weeks.

Pacific Division

-Joe Pavelski's shootout goal gave the Sharks a 3-2 win against the Coyotes. Evgeni Nabokov made 31 saves in the victory which was the fifth in a row for San Jose. Fellow Russian Olympic team member Ilya Bryzgalov made 36 stops for Phoenix which had a three-game winning streak snapped.

-Coyotes equipment manager Stan Wilson took a puck to the head last night and recovered in time to yell at the officials when they penaltized his team for delay of game:

-We don't know what it is about Nabokov's equipment, but he always looks like a fat guy when he's in uniform:

-Bryzgalov had some issues with this puck:

-The Ducks placed forward Kyle Calder on waivers and recalled forward Troy Bodie from Toronto of the AHL.

-The Kings placed forward Justin Williams (ankle) on injured reserve, recalled forward Scott Parse from Manchester of the AHL and demoted forward Corey Elkins to Manchester.

Smythe Division

-TSN counts down the top ten NHL plays of the decade:

-The Frolunda Indians and Farjestads BK of the Swedish Elitserien (Swedish Elite League) set a European record by playing an outdoor game in front of 31,144 frosty fans at Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg this past Thursday.

IIHF World Junior Championships

-Ducks prospect Brandon McMillan had a hat trick and led Canada to a 6-0 defeat of Switzerland. Blues prospect Jake Allen made 15 saves in the shutout.

-Another Ducks prospect, Igor Bobkov made 46 saves for Russia in a 2-0 shutout of Finland. Blue Jackets prospect Nikita Filatov had a goal and an assist.

(Photos: Crosby, Brodeur, Parise, Slater, Kane, Pavelec, Boulton, Kovalchuk and Valabik-Jim McIsaac/Getty Images; Thorburn-Rich Schultz/Associated Press; Leclaire, Gill and Clouston-Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images; Ward, Ovechkin and Semin-Greg Fiume/Getty Images; Belanger-Victor Decolongon/Getty Images; Boyd and Staios-John Ulan/Canadian Press; Brule-Amber Bracken/Edmonton Sun/Associated Press; Nabokov and Bryzgalov-Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.