Empty Netter Assists - 12-06-11

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-First things first, the NHL approves realignment. We'll have a big-time post coming up on this at 11 a.m. Please tune in.

-Realignment will become official pending an agreement with the NHLPA.

-The change passed by a 26-4 vote at the Board of Governors meetings.

-Sidney Crosby is a fan of realignment. (PG+)

-"This is a good conference for us. We are with teams we have historically done well with our fans in terms of attendance." - Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford.

-"For our fans, there will be far fewer games starting at 10:40 (p.m.), especially come playoff time. I like that for our fans and TV ratings." - Red Wings senior vice president Jimmy Devellano.

-"I definitely think that, physically, the new format will be better for our players. We should have less travel, fewer late arrivals and fewer days where we lose practice.'' - Stars general manager Joe Niewendyk.

-"This is what’s right for the league, but it’s also something that will make a big, big difference for our franchise, both on the ice and off the ice. This is huge.” - Blue Jackets president Mike Priest.

-NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly talks realignment:

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-Dave Molinari's recap from last night's game. "That's a very good hockey team. They do most things right." - Steve Sullivan on the Bruins.

-The Boston Globe's recap. “That was a big turning point for us. At that stage of the game, it could have gotten them back into it.’’ - Bruins coach Claude Julien on killing two five on three power plays for the Penguins.

-The Associated Press' recap. “We didn’t make it as difficult as we would have liked, but he certainly made some saves when he needed to." - Crosby on Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas.'s recap. The Bruins are 14-0-1 in their past 15 games.

-Game highlights:

-Boston's Brad Marchand versus Matt Niskanen:

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-Boston's Gregory Campbell versus Joe Vitale:

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-Crosby and Boston's Patrice Bergeron were ready for this call:

-Thomas got some help on this puck from Begeron:

-Julien appeared to use some sort of vulgar hand gesture to protest a call:

-Dan Bylsma speaks:

-Sidney Crosby speaks:

-Dan Bylsma is athletic:

-Penguins forward prospect Kenny Agostino and Pittsburgh-area natives forwards J.T. Miller, Brandon Saad, goaltender John Gibson and defenseman Stephen Johns were invited to the United States' preliminary roster for the World Junior Championships.

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are running out of defensemen thanks to the NHL Penguins.

-Former Penguins forward Matthew Barnaby was fired as an analyst from ESPN a day after he was charged with drunken driving in Buffalo.

-Happy 25th birthday to current Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen (right). Acquired prior to last season's trade deadling along with James Neal in a deal which sent Alex Goligoski to the Stars, Niskanen has spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. He finished last season by appearing in 18 games and scoring four points. In seven postseason games, he contributed one assist. This season, Niskanen has played in 27 games and scored six points. In 45 regular season career games with the Penguins, Niskanen has scored 10 points.

-Today would have been the 79th birthday of former Penguins and Hornets goaltender Hank Bassen. Acquired from the Red Wings in exchange for Roy Edwards in the 1967 offseason, Bassen was literally, the first goaltender in franchise history. He made 35 saves for the Penguins in the franchise's first game, a 2-1 loss to the Canadiens, Oct. 11, 1967. Bassen appeared in 25 games and went 7-10-3 that season with a 2.86 goals against average and one shutout. He retired following that season. Bassen passed away at the age of 76 in 2009.

Atlantic Division

-The Islanders placed defenseman Andrew MacDonald (right leg) and forward Jay Pandolfo (foot) on injured reserve and recalled goaltender Kevin Poulin and former Penguins forward Tim Wallace from Bridgeport of the AHL.

-The Devils recalled forward Nick Palmieri to Albany of the AHL.

-A new Winter Classic commercial:

Northeast Division

-Jonas Gustavsson made 30 saves for the Maple Leafs in a 4-2 win against the Rangers. Phil Kessel recorded two assists for Toronto. New York had a five-game winning streak snapped.

-Hit of the Night: Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf on New York's Michael Sauer:

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-A good look at the hit:

-Fight of the Night: Toronto's Jay Rosehill versus New York's Brandon Prust:

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-A good look at the fight:

-Toronto's Cody Franson put something on this shot:

-Two goals from Zack Smith led the Senators to a 4-2 win against the Lightning. Captain Daniel Alfredsson added a goal and an assist for Ottawa while teammate Craig Anderson made 31 saves. Steven Stamkos recorded two assists for Tampa Bay.

-Check out this rocket of a goal by Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson:

-Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov will be sidelined an additional four to six weeks due to knee surgery.

-Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty is expected to return to the lineup tonight after serving a three-game suspension for hitting Kris Letang in the head.

-The Canadiens demoted forward Andreas Engqvist to Hamilton of the AHL.

Southeast Division

-Two goals and an assist by Stephen Weiss led the Panthers to a 5-4 win against the Capitals. Dmitry Kulikov added a goal and two assists for Florida while teammate Brian Campbell recorded three assists. Scott Clemmensen made 28 saves in the victory. John Carlson had three assists for Washington.

-With Jose Theodore dealing with an illness, the Panthers recalled goaltender Jacob Markstrom from San Antonio of the AHL.

-Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina (right) is dealing with a "lower-body" injury.

-With goaltender Brian Boucher dealing with an undisclosed injury, the Hurricanes recalled goaltender Mike Murphy from Charlotte of the AHL.

Central Division

-The NHL is expected to announce a decision today regarding any discipline for Predators forward Jordin Tootoo after hit Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller Saturday.

Northwest Division

-Canucks forward Chris Higgins (right) is dealing with a staph infection in his left foot.

-Vancouver recalled forward Victor Oreskovich from Chicago of the AHL.

-With goaltender Henrik Karlsson dealing with a right knee injury, the Flames recalled goaltender Leland Irving from Abbotsford of the AHL.

-The Oilers demoted forward Ryan O'Marra to Oklahoma City of the AHL.

-Oilers defenseman and former Penguin Ryan Whitney is slowly battling his way back into game shape after rehabilitating form various injuries.

-Avalanche forward Peter Stastny is day to day due to a torso injury.

Pacific Division

-Shootout goals by Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Radim Vrbata gave the Coyotes a 4-3 win against the Blackhawks. Mike Smith made 32 saves for Phoenix. Captain Jonathan Toews had two regulation goals and an assist for Chicago.

-Defensive Play of the Night: Phoenix's Keith Yandle blocking a shot by Chicago's Marian Hossa on a wide-open net:

-Pass of the Night: Phoenix's Mikkel Boedker setting up Raffi Torres for a goal:

-Not to be outdone, check out this pass from Chicago captain Jonathan Toews to set up Patrick Kane:

-Chicago's Jamal Mayers and Phoenix's Kyle Chipchura had issues:

-Stars defenseman Mark Fistric will have a disciplinary hearing by phone with NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan today for a hit to the head of Islanders forward Nino Niederreiter Saturday:

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-"When I was part of the Kings organization, they certainly didn’t like the Ducks. So now that I’m here, I certainly don’t like the Kings.” - New Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau.

Adams Division

-Studies revealed late Rangers/Wild forward Derek Boogaard was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy at the time of his death last summer.

-Former Panthers/Flames forward Stefan Meyer has joined Färjestad of the Elitserien in Sweden.

(Photos: Patrick Division-eBay; Bruins/Penguins-Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press and Jamie Sabau/Getty Images; Niskanen, Rangers/Maple Leafs and Kubina-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; Higgins-Dale MacMillan/Getty Images; Coyotes/Blackhawks-Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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