Empty Netter Assists - 01-24-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-The Penguins' top line has been producing plenty of offense. But what about the other three lines?

-Kris Letang (above) was selected to the all-star game as a replacement for injured Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien.

-Evgeni Malkin was named the NHL's No. 1 star of the week.

-Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin was suspended three games for a high hit against Zbynek Michalek Sunday.

-Michalek was not disciplined for a hit from behind on Capitals forward Matt Hendricks.

-Welcome back Steve MacIntyre.

-Dan Bylsma speaks:

-Letang speaks:

-Happy 66th birthday to former Penguins forward Happy 66th birthday to former Penguins goaltender Bobby Taylor. Acquired late in the 1975-76 season along with Ed Van Impe in a deal which sent Gary Inness and future considerations to the Flyers, Taylor's Penguins amounted to two games, a 0-1-0 record and 5.38 goals against average that season. He was released in the 1976 offseason.

-Happy 39th birthday to former Penguins forwards Chris and Peter Ferraro. The only set of twins to play for the Penguins, they each joined the organization when they were claimed off waivers from the Rangers prior to the 1997-98 season. Chris appeared in 46 games for the team that season and recorded seven points. Peter only played in 29 games for the Penguins that season also recording seven points before the Rangers re-claimed him off waviers in January, 1998. Chris left the Penguins when he signed with the Oilers in the 1998 offseason.

-Happy 33rd birthday to former Penguins forward Tom Kostopoulos (right). A seventh-round pick in 1999, Kostopoulos spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 2001-02, Kostopoulos appeared in 11 games and scored three points. In 2002-03, he was limited to eight games and one assist. Kostopoulos finally broke through as an NHL regular in 2003-04 by playing in 60 games and scoring 22 points. After the 2004-05 lockout, he joined the Kings as a free agent. He is currently a member of the Flames. In 79 games with the Penguins, Kostopoulos scored 26 points.

{youtube width="465" height="345"}ZdmKXkGD04M{/youtube}

-Happy 49th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Norm Schmidt. A fourth-round pick in 1981, Schmidt spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins.  As a rookie in 1983-84, Schmidt appeared in 34 games and scored 18 points. After spending all of 1984-85 with Baltimore of the AHL, he returned to Pittsburgh in 1985-86 by setting career highs in games (66) and points (29). In 1986-87, he was limited to 20 games and six points. After five games and three poitns in 1987-88, he was forced into retirement due to a back injury. In 125 games with the Penguins, Schmidt scored 56 points.

{youtube width="465" height="345"}M6P9zbB3MNI{/youtube}

Atlantic Division

-Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh escaped injury following a violent hit from behind by Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference Saturday.

-Fellow Rangers defenseman Michael Sauer has suffered a setback in his recovery from a concussion suffered Dec. 5.

-"It seems like almost once a week a new guy has a concussion. They're better diagnosed now than they were 10 years ago." - Flyers forward Scott Hartnell.

-The Devils recalled defenseman Peter Harrold from Albany of the AHL.

Northeast Division

-Jonas Gustavsson made 25 saves for the Maple Leafs in a 3-0 shutout of the Islanders. Matthew Lombardi scored two goals for Toronto.

-The Bruins visited the White House to celebrate the Stanley Cup:

{youtube width="465" height="266"}nd_kWeLO9os{/youtube}

-Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas declined to attend the ceremony. Citing political objections, Thomas issued a statement:

"I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People. This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government. Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL."

-EN Says: Without wading into the swamp of political discourse, we would suggest to Thomas, you respect the office. Not the man.

-Bruins forward Nathan Horton is dealing with a "mild" concussion.

Southeast Division

-Cam Ward made 29 saves for the Hurricanes in a 2-1 win against the Jets. Winnipeg has lost three out of its past four games.

-Lucky Goal of the Night: Carolina's Jeff Skinner getting a goal off a botched pass:

-The Capitals demoted defenseman Tomas Kundratek to Hershey of the AHL.

-With defenseman Dmitry Kulikov dealing with an undisclosed injury, the Panthers recalled defenseman Tyson Strachan from San Antonio of the AHL.

-With forwards Ryan Malone ("upper-body") and Dana Tyrell (knee) dealing with injuries, the Lightning recalled forward Mike Angelidis and defenseman Evan Oberg from Norfolk of the AHL.

Central Division

-Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings who defeated the rival Blues, 3-1. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom recorded two assists for Detroit while teammate Jimmy Howard made 21 saves. The Red Wings have won 17 consecutive home games.

-Hit of the Night: Detroit's Brad Stuart on St. Louis' Alex Pietrangelo:

-A feisty scrum took place in the Red Wings' crease with Howard in the middle of everything:

-"I had to the puck and they're coming in. ... If I get punched in the face, I'm not going to have anything of it. I don't care who it is. If they're coming in, they're gonna get something back." - Howard on the scuffle.

-Howard was all over this puck:

-Mike Babcock did this to NBC's "Pierre" McGuire:

{youtube width="465" height="266"}BERc1mvlCik{/youtube}

-EN Says: Mike Babcock is a hero.

-Two goals by Mike Fisher helped the Predators defeat the rival Blue Jackets, 4-1. Martin Erat and Ryan Suter each recorded two assists for Nashville while teammate Pekka Rinne made 25 saves.

-Blue Jackets forward and Plum native R.J. Umberger returned to the lineup after missing five games due to a concussion.

-Columbus recalled foward Dane Byers from Springfield of the AHL.

-Hey James Neal fans, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews might miss the all-star game due to an arm injury.

Northwest Division

-Shootout goals by Sam Gagner and Taylor Hall gave the Oilers a 2-1 win against the Sharks. Devan Dubnyk made 44 saves for Edmonton.

-Goal of the Night: Check out this re-direction by San Jose's Logan Couture:

-Sharks defenseman Brent Burns left the game in the third period after a knee-on-knee hit by Oilers forward Ales Hemsky:

{youtube width="465" height="345"}a3tNzhIH2zQ{/youtube}

-The Oilers demoted forwards Josh Green, Ryan O’Marra and defenseman Colten Teubert to Oklahoma City of the AHL.

-The Canucks demoted defenseman Chris Tanev to Chicago of the AHL.

-With Wild forward Miikko Koivu dealing with an "upper-body" injury Oilers forward Jordan Eberle was added to the NHL's all-star game roster.

-Wild forward and former Penguin Nick Johnson was invited to the NHL's all-star game skills competition to compete as a rookie. Fire Ray Shero.

Pacific Division

-Kyle Clifford had a goal and an assist for the Kings who defeated the Senators, 4-1. Drew Doughty and Colin Fraser each recorded two assists for Los Angeles while teammate Jonathan Quick made 27 saves.

-Clifford ended up with a Gordie Howe hat trick:

-Defensive Play of the Night: Kings defenseman and former Penguin Rob Scuderi with a "save" on Ottawa's Zack Smith:

-Los Angeles' Trevor Lewis scored on a nifty penalty shot:

-The Stars signed former Penguins defenseman Alex Goligoski to a four-year contract extension worth a total of $18.4 million. He will have a salary cap hit of $4.6 million. In the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $1,833,333, Goligoski has appeared in 36 games this season and has 15 points (five goals, 10 assists).

-EN Says: Goligoski has blossomed as a top two defenseman in Dallas. He would have never gotten that chance in Pittsburgh given the Penguins' depth. That might seem like a hefty cap hit for Goligoski, but good luck getting a defenseman capable of 50 points on the cheap.

(Photos: Letang-Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images; Kostopoulos-Rick Stewart/Getty Images; Blues/Red Wings-Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

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.