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Empty Netter Assists - 01-12-13

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Kris Letang didn't spend too much time in Russia.

-Expect the Penguins to play their home opener Jan. 23. (PG+)

-The NHL is expected to release the full schedule today.

-The Penguins plan on using Marc-Andre Fleury AND Tomas Vokoun (above) a fair amount this season.

-Brad Thiessen made 23 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 1-0 shutout of the rival Hershey Bears.

-While he is only 2-2-0, Thiessen has a 1.02 goals against average and a .962 save percentage in his past four games.

-Shootout goals by Chris Barton, Keven Veilleux and Adam Payerl gave the Wheeling Nailers a 5-4 win against the Reading Royals. Paul Crowder had a regulation goal and an assist for Wheeling while teammate Carl Sneep recorded two assists. Peter Delmas made 22 saves in the victory.

-Katie Moore, the wife of former Penguins forward Dominic Moore, passed away following a battle with liver cancer Monday.

-Today would've been the 83rd birthday of former Pittsburgh Hornets and Penguins defenseman Tim Horton (right). An all-star with the Maple Leafs, Horton came to the Penguins in the 1971 offseason when he was claimed from the Rangers in an intra-league draft. His only season with the Penguins was 1971-72. He appeared in 44 games and scored 11 points. During that spring's playoffs, he appeared in four games and recorded one point. During the 1972 offseason, he was claimed by the expansion Sabres in an intra-league draft. Midway through the 1973-74 season with Buffalo, Horton was killed in an automobile crash Feb. 21, 1974. In 1977, Horton was the first Penguins player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Horton was a founder of the doughnut and coffee chain which bears his name.

-Happy 34th birthday to former Penguins forward Marian Hossa (right). Acquired at the 2008 trade deadline along with Pascal Dupuis in one of the biggest deals in franchise history which sent Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a first-round pick to the Thrashers, Hossa's Penguin's career amounted to 10 points in 12 games during the rest of the 2007-08 regular season. In the playoffs, Hossa was one of the team's top players appearing in 20 games and scoring 26 points including a series clinching overtime goal in Game 5 of an Eastern Conference semifinal round series against the Rangers (below). After helping the Penguins reach the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 16 years, Hossa stunned the hockey world by joining the team which beat the Penguins in the final, the Red Wings as a free agent. He is currently a member of the Blackhawks.

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-Happy 40th birthday to former Penguins goaltender Rich Parent. A free agent in the 2000 offseason, Parent's Penguins career amounted to seven games, a 1-1-3 record, a 3.07 goals against average and .887 save percentage in 2000-01. He was released in the 2001 offseason.

-Happy 38th birthday to former Penguins goaltender Jocelyn Thibault (right). Acquired in the 2005 offseason in a deal which sent a draft pick to the Blackhawks, Thibault spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. In 2005-06, he saw action in 16 games and went 1-9-3 with a 4.46 goals against average and .876 save percentage. During that season, Thibault was in for a 3-2 defeat of the Canadiens, Nov. 10, 2005, the first shootout victory in franchise history. He rebounded from injuries in 2006-07. While serving as Marc-Andre Fleury's backup, Thibault appeared in 22 games, went 7-8-2, had a 2.83 goals against average, a .909 save percentage and one shutout. He saw action in one playoff game that spring and made one save on one shot. During the 2007 postseason, Thibault joined the the Sabres as a free agent. In 38 career regular season games with the Penguins, Thibault had an 8-17-5 record with a 3.52 goals against average and .894 save percentage.

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Atlantic Division

-"There are two choices. You can either give up, not work hard and retire. Or you can work hard and try and get back." - Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton on working his way back into the NHL after essentially being banished to the AHL most of the past two seasons.

Northeast Division

-“I was on the ice one day, and (Metallurg Magnitogorsk coach) Paul Maurice said, ‘are you flying back to Pittsburgh?’ I said, yeah, the season is not even starting but I’m already going back. I was making fun of it.” - Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar (right) on rumors he will be traded back to the Penguins.

-Tuukka Rask finally get his chance to be the Bruins' No. 1 goaltender.

-The Bruins have invited free agent forward Jay Pandolfo to training camp. In 62 games with the Islanders last season, Pandolfo, 38, scored three points (one goal, two assists).

Southeast Division

-“It was one of my dreams come true to play with him. It probably wouldn’t have happened without the NHL lockout." - Hurricanes forward Jiri Tlusty on playing with Stars forward and former Penguins captain Jaromir Jagr with Kladno of the Czech Extraliga.

-The Panthers have invited former Penguins/Rangers/Canadiens/Senators forward Alex Kovalev, former Canadiens/Predators forward Andrei Kostitsyn and former Avalanche/Predators/Senators Marek Svatos to training camp.

-Capitals forward Troy Brouwer and defenseman Roman Hamrlik smoothed things over after meeting up during informal practices. Brouwer was critical of Hamrik after the latter criticized NHLPA leadership during the lockout.

Central Division

-Red Wings forward Darren Helm is dealing with an undisclosed injury.

Northwest Division

-Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly (right), currently a restricted free agent as it pertains to the NHL, might not attend Colorado's training camp without a new contract. He is currently playing with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of Russia's KHL.

Pacific Division

-The Ducks named former captain Scott Niedermayer as an assistant coach.

-Anaheim will invite goaltending prospect John Gibson, a native of Whitehall, to training camp. Gibson, a second-round pick in 2011, Gibson led th United States to the gold medal at the World Junior Championships earlier this month.

-“The Coyotes are my team. I didn’t want to play for another team and be with another organization. I wanted to just always be loyal to this team and always play here." - Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle on why he didn't play overseas during the lockout.

-Former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defenseman Boris Valabik has joined the Portland Pirates, the AHL affiliate of the Coyotes.

Adams Division

-Former Blues goaltender Marek Schwarz has joined Bili Tygri Liberec of the Czech Extraliga.

-Devin Williams made 41 saves for the Erie Otters who lost to the Saginaw Spirit, 4-3.

-Eric Levine made 26 saves for the Robert Morris men's team in a 3-2 loss to Connecticut.

-Jordan Tibbett made 36 saves for the Mercyhurst men's team in a 2-1 loss to Holy Cross.

-Celine Whitlinger made 48 saves for the Penn State women's team in a 1-0 shutout of Union.

-Rebecca Vint had a goal and an assist for the Robert Morris women's team in a 5-2 loss to Lindenwood.

-Amanda Makela made 24 saves for the Mercyhurst women's team which shut out Syracuse, 1-0.

-Collin Brennan made 25 saves for the Johnstown Tomahawks in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Port Huron Fighting Falcons.

(Photos: Fleury and Vokoun-Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press; Horton-Penguins Hockey Cards; Hossa and Gonchar-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; Thibault-Dave Sandford/Getty Images; O'Reilly-Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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