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Empty Netter Assists - 04-09-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Quite a few Penguins players reached new career highs including Pascal Dupuis (above).

-The playoff schedule was released.

-Happy 75th birthday to former Penguins forward Wayne Hicks. Acquired midway through the 1967-68 season in a deal which sent Art Stratton to the Flyers, Hicks appeared in 15 games for the Penguins and scored 11 points. After that season, Hicks spent the rest of his professional career in the AHL and WHL. He is the father of former Penguins forward Alex Hicks.

-Happy 48th birthday to former all-star Penguins forward Rick Tocchet (right). Acquired midway through the 1991-92 season along with Kjell Samuelsson, Ken Wregget and a draft pick in exchange for Mark Recchi, Brian Benning and a draft pick, Tocchet became one of the most popular players in franchise history despite only spending parts of three seasons in Pittsburgh. Tocchet finished 1991-92 by appearing in 19 games and scoring 30 points. Tocchet saw action in 14 postseason games that spring and scored 19 points while helping the franchise win its second Stanley Cup championship. In 1992-93, Tocchet played in 80 games and scored 109 points - one of four 100-point scorers for the team that season - and led the team with 252 penalty minutes while helping the franchise earn its only Presidents' Trophy. He was also selected to the final all-star game of his career. Tocchet saw action in 12 postseason games that spring and scored 13 points. During 1993-94, Tocchet was limited to 51 games and 40 points. He played in six postseason games that spring and scored five points. In the 1994 offseason, Tocchet and a draft pick were traded to the Kings in exchange for Luc Robitaille. In 150 regular season games with the Penguins, Tocchet, the only player in franchise history to wear No. 92, scored 179 points, 39th-most in franchise history. In 32 postseason games, Tocchet scored 37 points, 11th-most in franchise history.

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-Happy 32nd birthday to former Penguins forward Alexei Ponikarovsky. Acquired at the 2010 trade deadline in a deal which sent Luca Caputi and Martin Skoula to the Maple Leafs, Ponikarovsky's Penguins career amounted to 16 games and nine points in 2010-11. In 11 postseason games, he scored five points. During the 2010 offseason, Ponikarovsky joined the Kings as a free agent.

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Atlantic Division

-“That’s probably what I missed the most, the playoffs in the NHL." - Flyers forward and former Penguins captain Jaromir Jagr on his return to the NHL.

-The last time the Rangers played the Senators in the playoff, it was a different Senators. The Rangers defeated the original Senators, 1-0-1, two-game aggregate scoring series, 6-3, in 1930.

-The Islanders demoted forward Micheal Haley and defenseman Matt Donovan to Bridgeport of the AHL.

Northeast Division

-"It feels like it's a wasted season. Another year goes by, and we're not where we want to be." - Sabres captain Jason Pominville (right) on missing the postseason.

-The Sabres demoted defensemen T.J. Brennan and Brayden McNabb to Rochester of the AHL.

Southeast Division

-Do the Panthers go with Scott Clemmensen or Jose Theodore in goal during the postseason?

-“It doesn’t matter which place you are in the [regular] season. In the playoffs, it’s a different season. It’s different hockey. Every mistake can cost you a series and every mistake can cost you a game. In the playoffs, it’s [the] top 16 teams in the league battle for one goal — the Cup — so it doesn’t matter.” - Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.

-The Capitals demoted former Penguins goaltender Dany Sabourin to Hershey of the AHL.

-"We just need to be committed for a full year. We can’t take games off. You take games off and this is what you’re doing: packing up your stuff and going home early." - Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (right) on missing the postseason.

Central Division

-The Red Wings recalled former Penguins forward Chris Conner from Grand Rapids of the AHL.

-The Blue Jackets demoted forwards Cam Atkinson and Maksim Mayorov to Springfield of the AHL.

Northwest Division

-"All I'll say is I never thought we'd miss the playoffs for three years and we have, and I'll take responsibility for that." - Wild general manager and former Penguins executive Chuck Fletcher.

-The Wild demoted defensemen Kris Fredheim, Chay Genoway, Nate Prosser and Marco Scandella to Houston of the AHL.

-The Oilers demoted forwards Chris VandeVelde, Teemu Hartikainen and defenseman Colten Teubert to Oklahoma City of the AHL.

-"I grew up worshiping this team, and the guys that have their banners up in the rafters, they're my heroes. My No. 1 commitment is to raise a Stanley Cup one day in this jersey." - Avalanche forward Matt Duchene (right) on becoming a restricted free agent this summer.

-The Flames demoted forward Akim Aliu to Abbotsford of the AHL.

Pacific Division

-The Ducks demoted goaltender Jeff Deslauriers to Syracuse of the AHL.

-New Stars owner Tom Gagliardi said he will keep general manager Joe Nieuwendyk and head coach Glen Gulutzan.

-The Stars demoted defensemen Jordie Benn, Brenden Dillon, forwards Scott Glennie and Tomas Vincour to Texas of the AHL.

(Photos: Dupuis-Jamie Sabau/Getty Images; Tocchet-Penguins Hockey Cards; Pominville-Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images; Byfuglien-Marianne Helm/Getty Images; Duchene-Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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