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Empty Netter Assists - 11-29-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-A mediator met with the NHL and NHLPA yesterday.

-Sidney Crosby (right) has opted to work out the rest of this week in Arizona with several locked out NHLers, including Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney, Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek and Coyotes forward Steve Sullivan, each former Penguins. Also included in the group is Maple Leafs forward and former Capital David Steckel, the player who injured Crosby with a high hit to his head during the 2011 Winter Classic.

-Forbes Magazine, which has a history of being less than accurate with these things, listed the Penguins as the ninth most valuable franchise in the NHL at $288 million. (PG+)

-Forbes also ranked the Penguins as having the best fans in the NHL.

-Luke Pither and Carl Sneep each had a goal and an assist for the Wheeling Nailers who edged the Trenton Titans, 3-2. Scott Darling made 19 saves in the victory.

-Evgeni Malkin was held without a point but received a kneeing minor and a 10-minute misconduct penalty in overtime for Metallurg Magnitogorsk which lost to Vityaz Chekhov, 4-3, in Russia's KHL.

-It's nicer here as I can communicate in Russian with everybody… It’s only calmer in America. I live outside Pittsburgh and I can go for a walk without creating any hype or visit a café. And here everybody is running after me – the World Championship has boosted my popularity. But I try not to deny anyone autographs or photos, especially the kids.” - Malkin, translated from Russian, comparing life in the NHL to the KHL.

-Happy 63rd irthday to former Penguins defenseman Yvon Labre (right). A fourth-round pick in 1969, Labre spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1970-71, Labre saw action in 21 games and scored two points. In 1971-72, Labre played in 16 games and collected three points. During the 1974 offseason, Labre was claimed in the expansion draft by the Capitals. In 37 games with the Penguins, Labre scored five points.

-Happy 69th birthday to former Penguins coach Bob Berry. Hired June 4, 1984, Berry, Mario Lemieux's first NHL coach, spent three seasons with the Penguins. Berry's first season was 1984-85 and he led the team to a 24-51-5 record and 53 points, a 15-point improvement over the previous season. In 1985-86, the Penguins improved yet again to 34-38-8 and 76 points. Berry's final season with the Penguins was 1986-87. They took a step back going 30-38-12 for 72 points and missed the postseason for the third consecutive year. He was fired, April 13, 1987. In 240 games with the Penguins, Berry's record was 88-127-25 and he had 201 points.

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-Happy 29th birthday to current Penguins forward Tanner Glass. A five-year NHL veteran who has played with the Panthers, Canucks and Jets, Glass joined the Penguins as a free agent this past summer.

Atlantic Division

-Devils forward Adam Henrique, currently assigned to Albany of the AHL, will be sidelined four to six weeks following surgery on his left thumb.

Northeast Division

-According to CSNNE, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, chairman of the NHL's board of governors, essentially told an alternative governor for the Jets to shut up when the latter raised objections to the ongoing lockout. Per the report, Jacobs reprimanded the Jets' representative "'as one of the 'new kids on the block' and informed him that he would know when he was allowed to speak in the NHL board room."

-EN Says: Seriously, how screwed up is this league? The NHL is structured in a way where it requires only eight owners/governors to dictate the course the league takes with something such as a lockout. And when one of those owners is literally NHL management (as is the case with the Coyotes), it's relatively easy for Gary Bettman and Jacobs (right) round up the required amount of support they need to steer the league in their direction of choice.

Honestly. 8 > 22?

You might wonder how Bettman and Jacobs keep the rest of the league in check. The answer is simple. First, any commentary which doesn't necessarily fall in line with the Bettman/Jacobs narrative can elicit upwards of a $1 million fine. Second, if an owner were to take a public stand against Bettman's/Jacobs' lockout, good luck ever being considered as a host for a lucrative event such as an All-Star Game, draft or Winter Classic. As we saw during the backlash against Mario Lemieux following the Penguins-Islanders brawl in 2011, this is a league full of petty, petty men. Don't underestimate their willingness to exact revenge on a owner, his team and his market.

This really illustrates why the NFL is the most successful sports league in the world while the NHL bumbles around in obscurity. In the NFL, the real power brokers of that league - the Giants' Mara family or the Steelers' Rooney family for instance - do what's best for the NFL. In the NHL, the real power brokers such as Jacobs or the Flyers' Ed Snider, do what best for Jacobs or Snider.

-“It’s worked for the other sports. At the same time, it’s a pretty scary subject when you have to do that. It’s pretty complicated. … It might force them and put pressure on them to act a little quicker than they are right now. I think it can go both ways." - Sabres defenseman and former Penguin Jordan Leopold (right) on mediators being used in negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA.

Southeast Division

-"It's definitely starting to feel that way (like 2004) the longer it goes. It seems bleak for having any sort of season. Last time they called it around February (2005), so we've got to figure something's got to be done pretty quick. So yeah, it feels like that again. We're going nowhere." - Hurricanes defenseman Joe Corvo comparing the current lockout to the one which wiped out the 2004-05 season.

-The Panthers officially suspended defenseman Erik Gudbranson for injuring his shoulder while wakeboarding in September. The injury was legally considered non-hockey realated and per the rules of the previous collective bargaining agreement, the team is obligated to suspend the player.

Central Division

-Blue Jackets forward and former Penguin Mark Letestu is currently serving as an assistant coach of Bonnyville in the Alberta Junior Hockey League during the lockout.

-"Every one of these players needs to realize the money they've lost, they will never get back in their lifetime. The front two lines of every team are the big money-earners and they're going to be fine no matter what, but the third- and fourth-liners or the guys like (Capitals defenseman Roman Hamrlik) at the end of their career, they're going to feel it and I'm sure they are feeling it, so they should speak up." - Former Red Wings/Blackhawks forward and Hockey Hall-of-Famer Ted Lindsay (right) on recent comments by Hamrlik which were critical of the NHLPA. Lindsay helped organize the first NHLPA during the late 1950s.

Northwest Division

-Wild goaltender Josh Harding revealed he is battling multiple sclerosis.

Norris Division

-The Western Hockey League hammered the Portland Winterhawks with sanctions after it was revealed the team provided players with improper benefits.

(Photos: Crosby-Paul Bereswill/Getty Images; Labre-Penguins Hockey Cards; Jacobs and Leopold-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; Lindsay-Photobucket)

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