Empty Netter Assists - 02-17-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defenseman Boris Valabik is expected to miss the rest of the season due to hand surgery.

-Happy 63rd birthday to former Penguins goaltender Jim Rutherford (right). Claimed from the Red Wings in an intra-league draft during the 1971 offseason, Rutherford spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. In 1971-72, Rutherford appeared in 40 games, went 17-15-5 with a 3.22 goals against average and one shutout. He appeared in four postseason games that spring and went 0-4 with a 3.50 goals against average. He followed that up in 1972-73 by playing in 49 games and posting a record of 20-22-5 with a 2.91 goals against average with three shutouts. After 26 games, a 7-12-4 record and a 3.44 goals against average, Rutherford was traded back to the Red Wings along with Jack Lynch in exchange for Ron Stackhouse. In 115 regular season games with the Penguins, Rutherford was 44-49-14 with a 3.14 goals against average and four shutouts. He is currently the general manager of the Hurricanes.

-Happy 40th birthday to former Penguins forward Vladimir Vujtek. A free agent signing in the 2002 offseason, Vujtek's Penguins career amounted to five games and one assist in 2002-03. He was released early in the season.

-Happy 46th birthday to former Penguins forward Luc Robitaille (right). Acquired in the 1994 offseason, Robitaille's only season in Pittsburgh was the lockout-shortened 1994-95 campaign. In 46 games, Robitaille scored 42 points. In 12 postseason games that spring, he scored 11 points including a memorable overtime goal in Game 5 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal round against the Capitals (below). In the 1995 offseason, Robitaille was traded to the Rangers along with Ulf Samuelsson in exchange for Petr Nedved and Sergei Zubov. Featured in the movie "Sudden Death," Robitaille was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. He is currently the president of business operation for the Kings.

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Atlantic Division

-Wayne Simmonds and former Penguin Maxime Talbot each scored two goals for the Flyers in a comeback 7-2 win against the Sabres. Scott Hartnell added a goal and three assists for Philadelphia while teammate Claude Giroux recorded five assists. Ilya Bryzgalov made 27 saves in the victory.

-Bright times in Philadelphia:

-Bryzgalov had issues with this puck:

-The Flyers lost forward Daniel Briere ("upper body") and Tom Sestito ("lower body") to injuries in the game.

-Flyers forward and former Penguins captain Jaromir Jagr missed the game due to the flu.

-Simmonds suffered facial injuries during warm ups which required 25 stitches to repair and a full facial shield to protect.

-The Flyers acquired defenseman Nicklas Grossman (right) from the Stars in exchange for a second round pick in 2012 and a third-rounder in 2013. Including this season, Grossman has two seasons left on a contract with a $1.625 million salary cap hit. Grossman, 27, has five assists and 100 blocked shots in 52 games this season.

-EN Says: With captain Chris Pronger sidelined due to a concussion, the Flyers needed a physical presence on the blue line. Grossman is no where near Pronger in terms of providing an all-around game, but he's a big body (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) and will keep opposing forwards away from Flyers goaltenders and can block shots.

-Devils forward and former Penguin Petr Sykora took the long road back to the NHL.

-Rangers coach John Tortorella is a fan of New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin.

Northeast Division

-The NHL will not discipline Bruins forward Brad Marchand for his clipping penalty against Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin Wednesday.

-The hit in question:

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-EN Says: Very typical of this garage league. Always reactive. Not proactive. Emelin wasn't injured on the play, but that shouldn't matter. Marchand has a history, a very recent one, with clipping. He was suspended last monght for this same penalty. But the league chose to bury its head in the sand on this one. Instead of preventing Marchand from potentially injuring someone in the future, it's going to wait until he actuall does.

-Via Twitter, NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan said, "Like all penalties on the ice, not all "clips" rise to the level of supplemental discipline. This check by Marchand was delivered to the upper thigh/hip and not the knee area. We don't like it, but not (supplemental discipline)."

-The Canadiens demoted forward Aaron Palushaj to Hamilton of the AHL.

Southeast Division

-Two goals, including one in overtime, by Martin St. Louis gave the Lightning a wild 6-5 win against the Sharks. Steven Stamkos added two goal and two assists for Tampa Bay while teammate Victor Hedman recorded three assists. Dwayne Roloson made 45 saves in the victory. Logan Couture and Tommy Wingels each had a goal and an assist for San Jose.

-St. Louis' overtime goal:

-Sharks coach Todd McLellan completely ripped goaltender Antti Niemi after the game saying, "He wasn't any good."

-"There's 26 games left. That's like a third of the season. There's a lot of time. You start winning games, you never know." - St. Louis on his team's playoff fortunes.

-With the potential of a trade, the Lightning made defesneman and nrestricted free agent to be Pavel Kubina a healthy scratch to prevent him from being injured.

-Shootout goals by Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane gave the Jets a 4-3 win against the Wild. Kane added two regulation goals and an assist while teammate Alexander Burmistrov collected a regulation goal and an assist. Chris Mason made 22 saves for Winnipeg. Devin Setoguchi had two goals and an assist for Minnesota which has lost six consecutive games.

-Pass of the Night: Wild captain Mikko Koivu setting up Setoguchi:

-Weird faces of the Night: Winnipeg's Tanner Glass and Minnesota's Darrol Powe during a fight:

-"We're not sellers." - Panthers general manager and former Penguins defenseman Dale Tallon on his team's focus on the trade deadline.

-The Capitals recalled forward Keith Aucoin from Hershey of the AHL.

Central Division

-Former Penguin Marian Hossa and captain Jonathan Toews each had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks in a 4-2 win against the Rangers. Brent Seabrook recorded two assists for Chicago while teammate Corey Crawford made 22 saves. The Blackhawks snapped a nine-game losing streak.

-Happy times for Hossa:

-Angry times for New York captain Ryan Callahan:

-Chicago's John Scott > New York's Stu Bickel:

-A goal and two assists by T.J. Oshie led the Blues to a 5-1 win against the Islanders. Alex Pietrangelo recorded three assists for St. Louis while teammate Brian Elliott made 26 saves.

-Happy times for the Islanders. Not so much for Elliott:

-St. Louis' Andy McDonald > New York's Al Montoya:

-With forward Henrik Zetterberg dealing with a "lower-body" injury, the Red Wings placed forward Dan Cleary (knee) on injured reserve and recalled forward Tomas Tatar from Grand Rapids of the AHL.

-The Predators extended their AHL affiliation agreement with the Milwaukee Admirals.

-The Blackhawks want to host an all-star lame game.

Northwest Division

-The Canucks recalled defenseman Chris Tanev from Chicago of the AHL.

-Wild head coach and former Penguin assistant Mike Yeo made disgruntled defenseman Marek Zidlicky a healthy scratch.

-If you can imagine such a thing, an NHL team is being wishy-washy with news about a player with a history of concussions. The Avalanche are being vague about forward Peter Mueller's (right) "torso" injury.

-The Oilers dealt minor league forward Ryan O'Marra from the Ducks in exchange for minor league defenseman Bryan Rodney.

-A 20-year-old man was sentence to 17 months in prison for his actions in the Vancouver Stanley Cup riots.

Pacific Division

-An overtime goal and an assist by Mike Ribeiro gave the Stars a 3-2 victory against the Flames. Kari Lehtonen made 25 saves for Dallas which snapped a three-game losing streak.

-Ribeiro's goal:

-Dallas' Steve Ott ripped a rocket of a one-timer here:

-Ott and Calgary's Mike Cammalleri went at it in this faceoff:

-Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff kept his eyes on this puck:

-Stars forward Jamie Benn left the game in the second period due to a cut on his right leg.

-Mike Smith made 28 saves for the Coyotes in a 1-0 shutout of the Kings. It was Smith's 14th career shutout. Phoenix has won six out of its past seven games.

-Captain on captain violence. Los Angeles' Dustin Brown took on Phoenix's Shane Doan:

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-Things got intense for Doan during the fight:

-The Sharks acquired former Penguins forward Dominic Moore and a seventh-round pick in 2012 from the Lightning in exchange for a second-round pick in 2012. He is in the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.1 million. In 56 games this season, he has 19 points (four goals, 15 assists).

-EN Says: The rest of the Eastern Conference should collectively send a thank-you card to the Lightning. Moore has been a playoff preformer for the Canadiens in 2009 and the Lightning in 2011. He was instrumental in defeating the Penguins for those teams in each of those playoff seasons. Moore is a prototypical third or fourth-line center who can take faceoffs, kil penalties and contribute the occasional goal. The Sharks haven't really had that type of player since Manny Malhotra left in 2010.

-Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk shot down specutlation that his team will be sellers at the trade deadline.

Smythe Division

-The city of Seattle announced plans to fund a $500 million arena to lure NBA and NHL franchises.

(Photos: Rutherford-Pittsburgh Penguins; Robitaille-Robert Laberge/Getty Images; Sabres/Flyers-Al Bello/Getty Images; Grossman-Ronald Martinez/Getty Images; Jets/Wild-Jim Mone/Associated Press; Blackhawks/Rangers-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; Islanders/Blues-Tom Gannam/Associated Press and Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images; Mueller-Victor Decolongon/Getty Images; Flames/Stars-Ronald Martinez/Getty Images and LM Otero/Associated Press; Coyotes/Kings-Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

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