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Empty Netter Assists - 05-29-10

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Ray Shero is not ready to give up on Alexei Ponikarovsky (above).

-"'We want to host this game in Pittsburgh." - Penguins president David Morehouse on the Winter Classic.

-The Times-Herald in Montgomery County chats with Twitter trivia fanatic Eric Tangradi:

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Flyers

-"For me, it's getting harder to fall asleep at night when your mind starts racing and thinking about things." - Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton on getting anxious to start the series.

-Today's "Michael Leighton used to play for the Blackhawks" piece is brought to you by the Daily Herald.

-These Flyers have a whole lot more skill and talent than the Broad Street Bullies of the 1970s.

-Many of those same Bullies are comparing current captain Mike Richards to former captain Bobby Clarke. Maybe they should wait until Richards wins the Hart Trophy. Or the Stanley Cup.

-Remember how you're supposed to have experienced goaltenders to win the Stanley Cup? Leighton and Chicago's Antti Niemi didn't get that memo.

-Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen is sporting a nice shiner:

-And we're just now sure what to say about Scott Hartnell at this point:

-Thirsty times for Philadelphia's Johan Backlund:

Blackhawks

-"I've played this thing a thousand times on the street and now it's for real, so I better be ready." - Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg.

-It's been a long 49 years since the Blackhawks' last Stanley Cup title.

-How long has it been since the Blackhawks' last title? The day they won it, the Bay of Pigs invasion started.

-"I figured that was just going to be one of many that we were going to win during our span in the National Hockey League. I was too young to really appreciate how important it was to win that Cup." - Blackhawks legend Bobby Hull.

-Is this series going to boil down to Flyers captain Mike Richards versus Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews?

-Speaking of Toews, check out these mutton chops:

-Ten years ago, Dustin Byfuglien was flunking out of high school. Today, he's on the first line of the Blackhawks.

-"It's nearly impossible. Guys are well aware of that. Ever since the lockout, we're all well aware that when you have a good team, and you have good core guys, when you get an opportunity like this you want to make the best of it." - Blackhawks forward John Madden on the possibility of the salary cap taking away pieces of his team.

-Blackhawks forward Andrew Ladd ("upper body") is out for tonight's Game 1.

-"Going to bed tonight will be hard." - Blackhawks forward Adam Burish on the eve of Game 1.

-The Schaumburg Flyers, an minor league baseball team in suburb northwest of Chicago, are changing their name to "Pilots" for the next two weeks.

-Focused times for Niemi:

Non-Playoff Stuff
Northeast Division

-The Canadiens signed free agent defenseman Kyle Klubertanz to a one-year contract.

Southeast Division

-NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said an outdoor game would be held in Washington within two to three years.

-The Hurricanes signed defenseman Jay Harrison to a one-year contract worth $500,000.

-The Lightning signed defenseman Mark Barberio (right), a sixth-round pick in 2008, to a three-year entry-level contract.

Central Division

-The Predators signed defenseman Roman Josi (second round) and goaltender Atte Engren (seventh round), both draft picks in 2008, to entry-level contracts.

Northwest Division

-How cold is it going to be when the Flames host their outdoor game, the Heritage Classic, Feb. 20? The record high in Calgary for that day is 18 degrees in 1995.

-Longtime Oilers radio broadcaster Rod Phillips is going into partial retirement. Having done play-by-play since the team's second season in 1973, Phillips will do 10 games next season.

-The Avalanche want to bring former captain Joe Sakic back in an management role.

Pacific Division

-The Ducks signed forward Brandon McMillan to a three-year entry-level contract.

Adams Division

-Former Penguins forward Nils Ekman (right) signed with Djurgarden in Sweden.

-Bettman said Winnipeg and Quebec City have a higher priority to gain a franchise before Southern Ontario.

-Bettman also ripped the IIHF.

-The NHL will release next season's schedule June 22.

-Today would've been the 79th birthday of former Pittsburgh Hornets forward Bob Bailey.

(Photos: Ponikarovsky-Justin K. Aller/Getty Images; Flyers/Blackhawks-Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images; Barberio-Moncton Wildcats; Penguins-Peter Diana / Post-Gazette)

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