Empty Netter Assists - 06-06-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Tickets for the draft went quickly. (PG+)

-Former Penguins forward Erik Christensen has joined HC Lev Praha of Russia's KHL.

-Happy 62nd birthday to former Penguins all-star forward Al McDonough (right). Acquired midway through the 1971-72 season in a deal which sent Bob Woytowich to the Kings, McDonough spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. In 37 games with the Penguins in 1971-72, McDonough produced 18 points. He appeared in four postseason games that spring and recorded one assist. His finest NHL season was 1972-73 when he set career highs in games played (78), goals (35), assists (41) and points (76) and was selected to the All-Star Game while playing on a line with Syl Apps, Jr. and Lowell MacDonald. His goal total was a franchise record at the time. After another strong effort with 36 points in 37 games the following season, McDonough was dealt midway through 1973-74 to the Atlanta Flames in exchange for Chuck Arnason and Bob Paradise. In 152 regular season games with the Penguins, McDonough scored 130 points, 64th-most in franchise history.

-Happy 78th birthday to former Penguins goaltender Les Binkley (right). Acquired from San Diego of the WHL in exchange for cash prior to the Penguins' inaugural season of 1967-68, Binkley spent parts of five seasons in Pittsburgh. In 1967-68, as a ripe 33-year-old rookie, Binkley posted a respectable 20-24-10 record with a 2.88 goals against average and a remarkable six shutouts. That mark remains as the second-highest single-season total for shutouts in franchise history. After going 10-31-8 in 1968-69, Binkley began platooning the position with the likes of Al Smith and Jim Rutherford over the next three seasons. During the 1969-70 season, Binkley appeared in 27 games and posted a 10-13-1 record with three shutouts. As the team reached the postseason for the first time in franchise history in 1970, Binkley was in net as the team swept the Oakland Seals, 4-0, in the first round. During that postseason, Binkley had a record of 5-2 with 2.10 goals against average. In 1970-71, Binkley appeared in 34 games and went 11-11-10 with two shutouts. In his final season with the Penguins (1971-72), Binkley saw action in 31 games and went 7-15-5. The following offseason, he joined the Ottawa Nationals of the WHA. Binkley would eventually return to the Penguins as a scout and even got his name on the Stanley Cup with the 1992 championship team. In 2003, he was inducted into the franchise's hall of fame. In 196 games with the Penguins, Binkley had a record of 58-94-34 with a 3.12 goals against average and 11 shutouts. His shutout total trails only Tom Barrasso and Marc-Andre Fleury (22 each) on the franchise's career leader list.

-Happy 66th birthday to former Penguins forward Bob "Battleship" Kelly. One of the toughest and most popular players in franchise history, Kelly spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins after being acquired midway through the 1973-74 season along with Steve Durbano and Ab DeMarco Jr. in a deal which sent Bryan Watson, Greg Polis and a draft pick to the Blues. In 37 games with the Penguin in 1973-74, Kelly recorded 17 points and 78 penalty minutes. Kelly's first full season in Pittsburgh was 1974-75 and he appeared in 69 games and recorded 27 goals, 51 points and 120 penalty minutes. He also led the team in postseason scoring in 1975 with eight points in nine games. In 1975-76, he set career highs in games played (77), points (55) and penalty minutes (149). During that spring's postseason, he appeared in three games and failed to record a point. His final season with the Penguins (1976-77) saw him play in 74 games and record 31 points and a team-leading 115 penalty minutes. He saw action in three postseason games that spring and scored one goal. During the 1977 offseason, he signed with the Blackhawks as a free agent. In 250 regular games with the Penguins, Kelly recorded 154 points, 50th most in franchise history, and 462 penalty minutes. In 15 postseason games, he recorded nine points.

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-Happy 54th birthday to former Penguins forward Wayne Babych. An all-star with the Blues, he was claimed off waviers from St. Louis prior to the start of the 1984-85 season. In his first full campaign with the Penguins, he appeared in 65 games and recorded 54 points while playing alongside rookie star Mario Lemieux. After appearing in two games and failing to score a point in 1985-86, he was traded to the Quebec Nordiques for future considerations.

Playoff Stuff
Devils - Kings

-Devils forward and former Penguin Petr Sykora (right) is expected to return to the lineup for tonight's Game 4.

-"The fourth one's the hardest. They aren't going away." - Kings forward Colin Fraser on trying to close out the series tonight.

-"I think I was probably more nervous back then than I am right now for the games." - Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick on growing up a Rangers fan and walking the 1994 Stanley Cup Final.

Non-Playoff Stuff
Northeast Division

-"I feel much better equipped than I was [then].” - Michel Therrien on comparing his current tenure as Canadiens coach to his first.

-“I was proud. From when I got there to the day I left, there was a huge improvement.” He left town with a record of 135-105-32." - Therrien on his tenure as Penguins coach.

-With Thierren in Montreal, Dan Bylsma in Pittsburgh and Todd Richards in Columbus, 13.3 percent of former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coaches Penguins are now NHL head coaches.

Southeast Division

-Former Penguins captain Ron Francis (right) and goaltender Tom Barrasso were reassigned within the Hurricanes' organization. Francis was promoted to vice president of hockey operations while Barrasso was moved from goaltending coach to scout. The team moved Greg Stefan from scout to goaltending coach and hired former forward Cory Stillman as director of forward development.

Central Division

-The Predators will not re-sign forward Alexander Radulov.

-The Blue Jackets hired former forward Chris Clark as development coach.

Northwest Division

-The Flames hired Jacques Cloutier as associated head coach.

Pacific Division

-Katie Moore, wife of Sharks forward and former Penguin Dominic Moore, is dealing with liver cancer.

-The Stars signed Swiss free agent goaltender Christopher Nihlstorp to a two-way contract. Terms were not revealed.

Adams Division

-Soviet hockey legend and former Canucks forward Vladimir Krutov passed away. He was 52.

(Photos: Binkley, Kelly and McDonough-Penguins Hockey Cards; Sykora-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; Francis-Rick Stewart  /Allsport/Getty Images)

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