Empty Netter Assists - 02-24-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Craig Adams, Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz (above), James Neal and Steve Sullivan all have perfect attendance this season.

-Sidney Crosby practiced yesterday but there is no change in his status. Brooks Orpik remains day to day due to an "upper-body" injury. (PG+)

-Dan Bylsma speaks:

-Sullivan speaks:

-Orpik speaks:

-Shootout goals by Geoff Walker and Bryan Lerg gave the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins a 7-6 win against the Manchester Monarchs. Brandon DeFazio had a regulation goal and two assists for the Penguisn while teammate Jason Williams scored two regulation goals. Scott Munroe made 21 saves in the victory.

-Happy 39th birthday to former all-star Penguins forward Alex Kovalev (right). Initially acquired from the Rangers along with Harry York in exchange for Petr Nedved, Chris Tamer and Sean Pronger early in the 1998-99 season, Kovalev spent parts of five seasons with the Penguins. He finished 1998-99 by playing in 63 games for the Penguins and scoring 46 points. In the 1999 postseason, he played in in 10 games and scored 12 points. His first full season in Pittsburgh was 1999-2000. He appeared in all 82 games and scored 66 points. During that spring's postseason, he saw action in 11 games and scored six points. In 2000-01, Kovalev, selected as an all-star, played in 79 games and set career highs in goals (44), assists (51) and points (95) while playing primarily on a line with Robert Lang and Martin Straka. The 2001 postseason saw Kovalev appear in 18 games and score 10 points. In 2001-02, Kovalev was limited to to 67 games, but once again was selected to the all-star game while scoring a team-leading 76 points. After 54 games and 67 points in 2002-03, Kovalev was traded back to the Rangers along with Mike Wilson, Alex Kovalev, Janne Laukkanen and Dan LaCouture midway through the season in exchange for Joel Bouchard, Richard Lintner and Rico Fata and Mikael Samuelsson. After bouncing between the Rangers, Canadiens and Senators, Kovalev returned to Pittsburgh when he was acquired from the Senators in exchange for a draft pick at the trade deadline. He saw action in 20 regular season games and contributed seven points. He appeared in seven postseason games and recorded two points. After the season, he joined Atlant Mytishchi of the KHL. In 355 regular season games with the Penguins, Kovalev had 354 points, 16th-most in franchise history. In 46 postseason games, he scored 30 points, 14th-most.

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Atlantic Division

-The Islanders activated defenseman Travis Hamonic (nose) from injured reserve, recalled forward Casey Cizikas from Bridgeport of the AHL and demoted goaltender Kevin Poulin and defenseman Aaron Ness to Bridgeport.

-Could the Barclays Center being constructed in Brooklyn serve as a new home arena for the Islanders?

Northeast Division

-Senators goaltender Craig Anderson (right) is expected to be sidelined indefinitely after suffering a laceration on his right (blocker) hand while preparing dinner at home.

-Patriots tight end and Woodland Hills product Rob Gronkowski will "spike" the puck for a ceremonial faceoff between the Worcester Sharks - San Jose's AHL affiliate - and the Providence Bruins (Boston) tonight.

Southeast Division

-Captain Andrew Ladd had two goals and an assist for the Jets who defeated the Lightning, 4-3. Dustin Byfuglien added a goal and an assist for Winnipeg while teammate Blake Wheeler recorded two assists. Ondrej Pavelec made 22 saves for the Jets who moved into first place of the Southeast Division. Teddy Purcell and Steven Stamkos each collected a goal and two assists for Tampa Bay.

-Pass of the Night: Check out this sick behind-the-back/between-the-legs pass from Lightning forward and former Penguin to set up Stamkos:

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-Fire Ray Shero.

-Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis put a little extra on this shot:

-Stamkos moved into a tie with Evgeni Malkin for the league lead in scoring with 73 points.

-Tampa Bay is apparently trying to reclaim its title of "Pittsburgh South." The Lightning claimed former Penguins forward Tim Wallace off waivers from the Islanders. In 31 games this season, Wallace has one assist.

-Things keep getting worse in Washington. After being informed by reporters that head coach Dale Hunter made him a healthy scratch on account of taking too many penalties, Capitals defenseman Roman Hamrlik (right) shot back, "You should ask him about the penalties because when he played, I think he make lots of penalties himself. He should know better."

-Florida forward Stephen Weiss became the Panthers' all-time leader in games played with 614.

-Panthers forward Marcel Goc is day to day due to a "lower-body" injury.

-The Panthers recalled forwards Michal Repik and Jonathan Matsumoto from San Antonio of the AHL and demoted defenseman Nolan Yonkman to San Antonio.

Central Division

-Shootout goals by T.J. Oshie and Andrew McDonald gave the Blues a 3-2 win against the Predators. Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves in the victory.

-Another day, another trade for the Blue Jackets. Columbus dealt forward Jeff Carter (right) to the Kings in exchange for defenseman Jack Johnson and a first-round pick in 2012 or 2013. Including this season, Carter has 11 seasons left on a contract worth a total of $5,272,727. In 39 games this season, Carter, 27, has 25 points (15 goals, 10 assists). Johnson, 25, has seven seasons left on his contract - including this season - with a salary cap hit of $4,357,143. In 61 games this season, Johnson has 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists).

EN Says: The Blue Jackets continue to make the right moves. Carter just wasn't a fit for this franchise. Columbus had long sought a No. 1 center to play with Rick Nash and it was hoped Carter could fill that role. But like Nash, he's a goal scorer and not much of a playmaker. Nash needed a Nicklas Backstrom type to play with. Additionally, Carter is immature. He pouted and holed himself up in his beach house after being traded from the Flyers last season. The Blue Jackets had to send an entourage of management and players to his residence in order to convince him to come to Columbus. The Blue Jackets needed Carter to be a part of a foundation for their floundering franchise and Carter didn't have the character for that role.

Johnson (right) is a legit top two defenseman and he is a player you can build around. He's capable of playing 25-plus minutes a night and can be relied on to play in all situations, including matching up against opponents' top forwards. He is what this franchise needs.

For the Kings, they're taking a big gamble. They're reuniting Carter with former Flyers teammate Mike Richards. When things were going right in Philadelphia, those two were among the best pairings of No. 1 and 2 centers in the NHL. But when things got tough, these two didn't exactly display a ton of heart. And when you add in the lengthy contracts each of those players have - Richards has a salary cap hit of $5.75 million through 2019-20 -  it's a MAJOR commitment to two players who haven't always shown up.

Losing Johnson will hurt, but he was never going to realize his true potential in Los Angeles with Drew Doughty cemented as the Kings' top defenseman.

-“I want to be part of the solution there. I know they’ve had some bad breaks and some tough seasons, but it’s going to be great when it turns around. Really, I don’t think there is anything sweeter in sports than being part of a team when they get it turned around.” - Johnson.

-Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (right) was involved in a one-car accident in Chicago. He was not injured.

-The Red Wings officially re-signed forward Todd Bertuzzi to a two-year contract extension worth a total of $4.5 million. He will have a salary cap hit of $2.5 million. In the final year of a contract with a $1.937 million cap, Bertuzzi has 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists) in 55 games this season.

Northwest Division

-Alex Burrows' shootout goal gave the Canucks a 4-3 road win against the Red Wings. Detroit's NHL record 23-game home winning streak was snapped. Daniel Sedin scored two regulation goals for Vancouver while captain Henrik Sedin recorded two assists. Darren Helm had a goal and two assists for Detroit.

-Burrows' goal which snapped the streak:

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-A good look at the goal:

-Daniel Sedin scored with 15.4 left in regulation to force overtime:

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-Devan Dubnyk made 35 saves for the Oilers in a 2-0 shutout of the Flyers. It was his third career shutout. Jordan Eberle netted a goal and an assist for Edmonton.

-Save of the Night: Philadelphia's Ilya Bryzgalov on Edmonton defenseman and former Penguin Corey Potter:

-Fight of the Night: Edmonton's Darcy Hordichuk versus Philadelphia's Jody Shelley:

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-“Don’t make me puke." - Dubnyk's reaction when reminded his yearly salary $800,000 just barely exceeds the bi-weekly salary Bryzgalov ($770,000.)

-Shootout goals by former Penguin Erik Christensen and Matt Cullen gave the Wild a 3-2 win against the Panthers. Fire Ray Shero. Dany Heatley recorded two assists for Minnesota while teammate Niklas Backstrom made 41 saves. Former Penguin Mikael Samuelsson had a regulation goal and an assist for Florida. Fire Craig Patrick.

-Defensive Play of the Night: Check out this "save" by Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson on this loose puck in his crease:

-The Avalanche recalled defenseman Tyson Barrie from Lake Erie of the AHL and placed forward David Van Der Gulik on waivers.

-The Flames demoted forward Paul Byron to Abbotsford of the AHL.

Pacific Division

-Two goals by Patrick Marleau led the Sharks to a 2-1 win against the Maple Leafs. Antti Niemi made 29 saves in the victory which snapped a four-game losing streak.

-Saku Koivu's shootout goal gave the Ducks a 3-2 win against the Hurricanes. Jonas Hiller made 30 saves for Anaheim which is 16-3-4 since Jan. 6.

-Carolina's Justin Peter kept an eye on this puck:

-A good look at Peters' lid:

-A goal and an assist by Michael Ryder led the Stars to a 3-1 win against the Blackhawks. Mike Ribeiro recorded two assists for Dallas while teammate Richard Bachman made 26 saves.

-Dallas' Tomas Vincour > Chicago's Brent Seabrook:

-Chicago's Corey Crawford had issues with this puck:

-Ray Whitney's shootout goal gave the Coyotes a 4-3 win against the Flames. Whitney added a regulation goal and an assist for Phoenix while teammate Mike Smith made 21 saves. Alex Tanguay led Calgary with a regulation goal and an assist.

-Check out this paralyzing move Whitney put on Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff to score his regulation goal:

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-Fluky Goal of the Night: Tanguay scored off this quirky deflection off the skates of Phoenix's Lauri Korpikoski while Smith ventured out of his crease:

-The Coyotes demoted forward Matt Watkins to Portland of the AHL.

(Photos: Dupuis/Kunitz and Hamrlik-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; Kovalev-Donald Miralle/Allsport/Getty Images; Anderson-Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images; Lightning/Jets-Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images; Carter-John Grieshop/Getty Images; Johnson-Jim McIsaac/Getty Images; Toews-xxx; Canucks/Red Wings-Paul Sancya/Associated Press; Ducks/Hurricanes-Grant Halverson/Getty Images; Stars/Blackhawks-Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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