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Empty Netter Assists - 08-02-11

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Mario Lemieux (above) is kind of good at golf.

-Penguins forward prospect Kenny Agostino is gunning for a spot on the United States' World Junior Championship roster.

-More video of Evgeni Malkin training in Russia:

-If he weren't a left-handed shot, Marc-Andre Fleury might be able to play on a line with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin:

-The Pitt-Duquesne men's baskeball game will remain at Consol Energy Center next season.

-Former Penguins forward Rico Fata has joined Genève-Servette of the NLA in Switerzland. He will be joining another former Penguins forward, Richard Park.

-Happy 47th birthday to former Penguins all-star forward John Cullen (right). Undrafted after spending four years at Boston University, Cullen was a free agent signing by the Penguins in the 1988 offseason. As a rookie in 1988-89, he appeared in 79 games and produced 49 points. Helping the team reach the postseason for the first time in seven years, Cullen scored nine points in 11 playoff games. In 1989-90, Cullen took a huge step forward by scoring 32 goals and 92 points in 72 games. With Mario Lemieux sidelined due to a back ailment for most of 1990-91, Cullen was teamed on the Option Line with Mark Recchi and Kevin Stevens that season. Selected to his first all-star game, Cullen would produced 94 points in 65 games for the Penguins. At the trade deadline, he was part of arguably the most important trade in franchise history when he was sent to the Hartford Whalers along with Jeff Parker and Zarley Zalapski in exchange for Ron Francis, Grant Jennings and Ulf Samuelsson. Cullen would bounce between the Whalers and Maple Leafs over the four seasons before returning to the Penguins as a free agent in the 1994 offseason. In a lockout-shortened 1994-95 campaign, Cullen appeared in 46 games and scored 37 points. In the 1995 offseason, he signed with the Lightning as a free agent. In 262 games with the Penguins, Cullen scored 272 points, 26th-most in franchise history.

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-Happy 79th birthday to former Penguins and Pittsburgh Hornets defenseman Leo Boivin. An all-star during his days with the Bruins, Boivin came to the Penguins when he was selected from the Red Wings in the 1967 expansion draft. During the franchise's inaugural season of 1967-68, he appeared in 73 games, scored 22 points and recorded a team-leading 74 penalty minutes. After 41 games and 18 points in 1968-69, Boivin was traded to the North Stars midway through the season in exchange for Duane Rupp. In 114 games with the Penguins, Boivin scored 40 points. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1986.

-Happy 37th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Hans Jonsson. The last overall pick in the 1993 draft, Jonsson spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1999-2000, Jonsson appeared in 68 games and scored 14 points. In 2000-01, Johnson only played in 58 games and but increased his scoring to 22 points. Jonsson's numbers took a tumble in 2001-02 as he played in 53 contests and scored only seven points. His final season in Pittsburgh was 2002-03 when played in 63 games and scored five points. In the 2003 offseason, he joined MODO in his native Sweden. He has spent the past nine seasons with MODO. In 242 games with the Penguins, Jonsson scored 48 points.

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Atlantic Division

-Voters in Nassau County in New York rejected a proposal which would fund a new arena for the Islanders as well as a minor league baseball stadium.

-EN Says: The Islanders are tied to Nassau Coliseum until 2015 via their lease. There's still plenty of time to find a way to build a new arena.

-"I have to tell you I’m disappointed, and to put it very bluntly, I’m heartbroken." - Islanders owner Charles Wang.

-Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov says he expects to attend the team's training camp. After being claimed off waivers by the Islanders last season, Nabokov refused to report.

-The Devils placed forward Trent Hunter and defenseman Colin White (right) on waivers with the hopes of buying out their contracts eventually.

-"We’ve had a friendship. But you have to be able to separate that from the business side.” - Devils overlord Lou Lamoriello on White.

-Former Rangers/Kings forward Alexander Frolov shot down a story from a Russian news outlet which quoted him as saying former teammate and current Rangers forward Sean Avery used racial slurs against opponents on the ice. Frolov and Avery were teammates with the Kings and Rangers. Frolov is currently a member of the KHL's Avangard Omsk.

Central Division

-The Predators and captain Shea Weber (right) have an arbitration hearing scheduled for today.

Northwest Division

-Former Oilers coach Craig MacTavish was officially named the head coach of the the Chicago Wolves, the Canucks' AHL affiliate.

Pacific Division

-The Sharks signed defenseman Brent Burns to a five-year contract extension worth a total of $28.8 million. He will have a salary cap hit of $5.76 million. The deal will kick in beginning with the 2012-13 season. He has two years left on a deal with a salary cap hit of $3.55 million. Burns was acquired from the Wild earlier this offseason.

EN Says: This is an odd move for the Sharks. Why make this deal while Burns has two years left on his current contract. And why do you make this deal with the CBA set to expire next summer? A lot of things can happen between now and when Burns' current deal expires. What if he gets injured or just tanks over the next two years?

-Ducks forward Teemu Selanne (right) is still being wishy-washy over if he wants to return next season or retire.

Patrick Division

-Former Blackhawks/Red Wings/Thrashers defenseman Chris Chelios, broadcaster Mike "Doc" Emrick, Flyers owner Ed Snider, Flames/Blackhawks/Sharks defenseman Gary Suter and Jets/Coyotes/Blues/Thrashers forward Keith Tkachuk were named as the United States Hockey Hall of Fame's class of 2011.

-Goodbye OLN Versus. Hello NBC Sports Network.

(Photos: Lemieux-Post-Gazette archives; Cullen-Penguins Hockey Cards; White-Paul Bereswill/Getty Images; Weber-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; Selanne-Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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