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Empty Netter Assists - 11-23-09

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-What chance do the Penguins have at keeping Sergei Gonchar after this season?

-Ben Lovejoy got high in practice yesterday.

-Alex Goligoski and Chris Bourque speak:

-Dan Bylsma and Dan Potash speak:

-Happy 27th birthday to former Penguins forward Colby Armstrong. The team's first-round pick in 2001, Armstrong is the franchise's 79th all-time leading scorer with 98 points. He was sent to Atlanta along with Erik Christensen, prospect Angelo Esposito and a first-round pick in exchange for Pascal Dupuis and Marian Hossa at the 2008 trade deadline.

-Happy 68th birthday to former Penguins forward Simon Nolet. A former all-star with the Flyers and Kansas City Scouts, Nolet spent part of the 1975-76 season in Pittsburgh on a line with Vic Hadfield and Ron Schock. Nolet might be most renown as the first captain of the Scouts/Rockies/Devils franchise.

-Happy 38th birthday to former Penguins forward Dan Kesa (right). Kesa's only season with the Penguins came in 1998-99 when he appeared in 67 games and scored 10 points. Kesa appeared in all 13 of the Penguins' playoff games that season and scored the game-winning goal in a 2-0 win against the Maple Leafs in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. He is the uncle of current Bruins forward Milan Lucic.

Atlantic Division

-Rangers captain Chris Drury has resumed practicing for the first time since suffering a concussion Nov. 7.

-Flyers forward Blair Betts will be sidelined approximately a month due to a separated shoulder.

-Islanders rookie forward John Tavares, the top overall pick in this year's draft, plays in Toronto for the first time as an NHLer.

Northeast Division

-Canadiens enforcer and former Penguins forward Georges Laraque will face a disciplinary hearing today over his knee-on-knee hit on Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall Saturday.

-It looks like Bruins forward Marc Savard is on the verge of returning to the lineup from his broken foot.

Southeast Division

-Steven Stamkos' overtime goal gave the Lightning a 4-3 win at Atlanta. Stamkos and Kurtis Foster each had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay while teammate Martin St. Louis recorded three assists. Antero Niittymaki (above) made 28 saves in the victory. Tobias Enstrom and Slava Kozlov each had a goal and an assist for the Thrashers.

-Happy times for Stamkos. Not so much for Atlanta's Todd White:

-From the "Boo-Hoo" department, the Capitals could be without seven players tonight in Ottawa.

Central Division

-Antti Niemi made 30 saves and led the Blackhawks to a 1-0 shutout win at Vancouver. Bryan Bickell (above, flashing a beautiful smile) scored his first career goal for Chicago which has won seven consecutive games.

-Niemi pulling out a save on Vancouver's Steve Bernier:

-Vancouver's Roberto Luongo kept his come-hither eyes on the puck:

-Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall will be out of the lineup approximately a month due to his knee injury.

-The Predators demoted forward Colin Wilson, a first-round pick in 2008, to Milwaukee of the AHL.

-Should the Red Wings retire the number of former forward Brendan Shanahan?

-There's actually a team with worse special teams than the Penguins and perhaps even the Steelers. The Blues' power play has a success rate of 12.7, worst in the NHL.

Northwest Division

-With forward Daniel Sedin returning from his broken foot, the Canucks demoted forward Matt Pettinger to Manitoba of the AHL.

-The Oilers recalled goaltender Devan Dubnyk from Springfield of the AHL.

-Flames captain Jarome Iginla isn't missing the net too much these days.

-Despite going 3-6-1 in its past 10 games, the Avalanche is still in first place in the Northwest Division.

-Colorado will hold a tribute to former defenseman Uwe Krupp before tonight's game against the Flyers. Krupp scored the Stanley Cup-winning overtime goal for the Avalanche in the 1996 Stanley Cup Final against the Panthers:

-Wild forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard is still dealing with a concussion he suffered in March.

Pacific Division

-The Sharks and Dany Heatley trave to Edmonton Friday. During his offseason tiff with his former team, the Senators, Heatley refused a trade to the Oilers only to eventually wind up in San Jose. Well, leave it to the Globe and Mail in Toronto to point out that Heatley, who has played for Canada in numerous international competitions, is actually a German-Canadian.

-The Stars have found a pretty nice line with Loui Eriksson, James Neal and Brad Richards.

-Kings forward Jarret Stoll is dealing with a "lower-body" injury.

-Ducks forward Joffrey Lupul is dealing with a back injury.

-Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek has resumed practicing for the first time since suffering a "lower-body" injury Nov. 4.

Norris Division

-We're a little late with this, but the United States beat Canada, 3-2, for the gold medal in the United States sledge hockey championship.

-Random Photo Find of the Day: How awesome are the uniforms for Robert Morris and Colorado College?

(Photos: Gonchar-Jim McIsaac/Getty Images; Kesa-Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette; Niittymaki and Stamkos-John Amis/Associated Press; Bickell, Niemi and Luongo-Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press; Robert Morris- Kevin Kreck/The Gazette/Associated Press)

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