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Empty Netter Assists - 06-04-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Former Penguins goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin (right) has joined the Val Pusteria Wolves of Italy's Serie A league.

-Happy 43rd birthday to former Penguins forward Len Barrie. A free agent in the 1994 offseason, Barrie spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. He appeared in all 48 games for the Penguins in the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season and recorded 11 points. After five games and zero points in 1995-96, Barrie spent most of that season with the Penguins IHL affiliate in Cleveland. In the 1995 offseseason, he signed with the Kings. Barrie, who recently owned the Lightning, is president of the Victoria Grizzlies of the British Columbia Hockey League.

-Happy 38th birthday to former Penguins forward Jeff Toms. Claimed off waivers late in the 2001-02 season from the Rangers, Toms' Penguins career amounted to 14 games and three points that season. In the 2002 offseason, he signed with the Panthers as a free agent. He a member of Servette Geneve of the NLA in Switzerland.

-Happy 36th birthday to former Penguins forward Wayne Primeau (right). Acquired midway through the 2000-01 season in a deal which sent Matthew Barnaby to the Lightning, Primeau spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. In 28 games with the Penguins that campaign, he recorded seven points and appeared in all 18 of the team's playoff games contributed four points. A knee injury limited him to 33 games and 10 points in 2001-02. The 2002-03 season saw him appear in 70 games and score 16 points. At the trade deadline, he was dealt to the Sharks in exchange for Matt Bradley.

-Happy 22nd birthday to current Penguins goaltending prospect Alexander Pechurskiy. A fifth-round pick in 2008, Pechurskiy's NHL career thusfar has amounted to 36 minutes of action, a 1.67 goals against average and .923 save percentage during the 2009-10 season. He is currently a member of Magnitogorsk Metallurg of Russia's KHL.

Playoff Stuff
Devils - Kings

-“We think we have to win one game tomorrow night in order to put a different spin on this series. I know (members of the media) are going to spout out stats, that it's an impossible mountain to climb. We heard the same thing when we were down to Florida, 3-2, after Game 5. But that stuff's irrelevant. We really believe we can win a game tomorrow night. If we do, we think it's a different series.” - Devils coach Peter DeBoer.

-All those Lakers championship banners in the Staples Center are providing plenty of motivation for the Kings.

Non-Playoff Stuff
Northeast Division

-Via Facebook, Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas (right) confirmed he will take a year off of hockey to address family concerns. Thomas, the defending Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Award winner, went 35-19-1 with a 2.36 goals against average, .920 save percentage and five shutouts this past season. Assuming Thomas does not report to camp in September, his contract will be suspended by the Bruins but the team would still have to absorb his salary cap hit of $5 million. The Bruins have the option of tolling his contract and his cap hit to the 2013-14 season.

-EN Says: The toll a hockey season has on the life of anyone involved with the sport - from players to coaches to management to support staff to media - can not to be underestimated. Assuming Thomas' intentions are true, it's nearly impossible to argue with his reasons. That said, he's hardly gone about this gracefully. And further more, he hasn't made this convenient for the Bruins, the team which gave him a chance to make in the NHL, in terms of salary considerations for himself or his backup and successor, Tuuka Rask, who is scheduled to be a restricted free agent this summer.

Additionally, Thomas' method of announcing this decision left a lot to be desired. Last week, we saw a true all-time great in Nicklas Lidstrom thank the entire world as he concluded his spectacular 20-year hall-of-fame career. On the other hand, Thomas posted a brief announcement on Facebook to declare his hiatus of a brief, but excellent five year run and managed to do it by giving a free plug to a his trainer's Web site. Furthermore, Lidstrom paid for a full-page advertisement in the Detroit Free Press, a struggling newspaper, to thank his fans in Detroit. Thomas used a free post on Facebook, a Web site owned by a struggling billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg.

Northwest Division

-The Avalanche has begun negotiations on on a contract with forward David Jones (right). He is scheduled to become a unrestricted free agent July 1.

Smythe Division

-According to documents compiled by his father, former Wild/Rangers forward Derek Boogaard was provided with more than 100 prescriptions for thousands of pills by doctors for both teams over his final three seasons in the NHL. Boogaard passed away at the age of 28 last summer as a result of an accidental overdose of narcotic painkillers and alcohol.

-Former Blues/Stars/Coyotes/Kings forward Ladislav Nagy has joined MODO of Sweden's Elitserien.

-Former Predators defenseman Teemu Laakso has joined the Severstal Cherepovets of Russia's KHL.

(Photos: Aubin-Steve Babineau/Allsport/Getty Images; Primeau-Mitchell Layton/Getty Images; Thomas-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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