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Empty Netter Assists - 06-03-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The Penguins? They still don't have a full-time general manager.

-Former Penguins forward Matt Murley (right) has joined HC Slovan Bratislava of Russia's KHL.

-St. John's IceCaps defenseman Will O'Neil was suspended for tonight's Game 6 of the AHL's Eastern Conference final series after he cross checked Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Andrew Ebbett after a goal in Game 5.

-Happy 55th birthday to former Penguins goaltender Nick Ricci. A fifth-round pick in 1979, Ricci spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins. Never appearing in more than nine games in a season with the team, "Tricky Nicky's" NHL career amounted to 19 games with the Penguins and a 7-12-0 record. In the 1983 offseason, he was traded to the Maple Leafs along with Pat Graham in exchange for Vincent Tremblay and Rocky Saganiuk.

-Happy 31st birthday to former Penguins forward Chris Thorburn. Claimed off waivers from the Sabres prior to the 2006-07 season, Thorburn appeared in appeared in 39 games and recorded five points and 69 penalty minutes for the Penguins that campaign. In the 2007 offseason, Thorburn was traded to the Thrashers in exchange for a draft pick. He is currently with the Jets.

-Happy 60th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Wally Weir. Claimed off waivers from the Whalers late in the 1984-85 season, Weir ended his six-year NHL career by appearing in 14 games and recordeding three assists for the Penguins that campaign. He was released in the 1985 offseason.

Playoff Stuff
Rangers

-"I think going into Philly [in the first round] people were probably 50-50 that we would get through that. Going into Pittsburgh, I would probably say that there were a lot more people -- experts -- that were picking Pittsburgh than were picking the Rangers. Going against Montreal, other than a few New York reporters, everybody else across Canada, it was Montreal in four or five. So throughout these playoffs -- and it's not going to change now -- we've been the underdog, but what we've done is focused on how we play and what we need to do on the ice." - Rangers coach Alain Vigneault.

-"I could tell you that when I lost Game 7 there was a lot of crying." - Vigneault on coaching the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

-Teams from Los Angeles and New York will face off in a championship series of the four major American sports leagues for the eighth time.

Kings - Blackhawks

-“It’s going to be a little special, and weird. But it is what it is, and I’m looking forward to it.” - Kings forward Marian Gaborik (right) on facing his former team, the Rangers, in the Stanley Cup final.

-"The hallmark of this group is that they care about the right things and they care about each other. It all starts from there. They're not choir boys, usually, but they have the wherewithal to be great teammates. It's a simple formula of caring, and then you can go from there and push them. That's a daily occurrence." - Kings general manager Dean Lombardi on his team.

Non-Playoff Stuff
Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-The Rangers signed defenseman Calle Andersson, a fourth-round pick in 2012, and goaltender Mackenzie Skapski, a sixth-round pick in 2013, to entry-level contracts. Terms were not reported.

Atlantic Division

-“I thought our young players learned a lot. What they learned over the last 17 playoff games is something you can’t buy. We’re a good team with a young core, but we’re not a mature team yet, like a Chicago or a Los Angeles. We still have lots of work to do in terms of building through the draft and developing our young players, but we are well on track." - Canadiens general manager and former Penguins defenseman Marc Bergevin on the state of his team.

-The Panthers were granted permission to interview Canadiens assistant coach Gerard Gallant for the vacant head coaching position.

-The Panthers laid off approximately 30 employees.

Central Division

-The Predators re-signed goaltender Carter Hutton (right) to a two-year contract worth a total of $1.45 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $550,000, Hutton's new deal will have a cap hit of $725,000. In 40 games last season, Hutton, 28, had a 20-11-4 record, a 2.62 goals against average, a .910 save percentage and one shutout.

-EN Says: With starter Pekka Rinne sidelined most of the season, Hutton picked up most of the slack and was fairly adequate. This is a fair contract for a backup goaltender.

-The Predators signed forward Max Gortz, a sixth-round pick in 2012, to a three-year entry-level contract.

Pacific Division

-According to Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area, the Sharks are expected to host an outdoor game next season. The venue has not be determined yet but it will either be the San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park or the San Francisco 49ers' Levi's Stadium.

(Photos: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images and Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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