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Empty Netter Assists - 12-19-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-"Being home for that long over the holidays, I might put on a few pounds." - Sidney Crosby on having an extended holiday vacation due to the lockout.

-Crosby won't make a decision on potentially playing in Europe until early next month. (PG+)

-According to Hannes Biedermann of derStandard.at, an Austrian news site, Dustin Jeffrey (right) has left Medvescak Zagreb of Austria's EBEL for the holidays but extended his contract with the team provided the lockout continues. He is scheduled to to rejoin Medvescak Zagreb Jan. 4.

-After scoring six goals in his first nine games of the season, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Paul Thompson has gone cold with only one score in the following 13 games.

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins released former Mercyhurst goaltender Ryan Zapolski from his professional tryout agreement.

-Chris Barton scored two goals for the Wheeling Nailers in a 3-1 win against the Greenville Road Warriors. Cody Chupp added a goal and an assist for Wheeling while teammate Luke Pither recorded two assists. Peter Delmas made 20 saves in the victory.

-Happy 69th birthday to former Penguins captain Ron Schock (right). Acquired in the 1969 offseason along with Craig Cameron and a draft pick in a deal which sent Lou Angotti and a draft pick to the Blues, Schock spent eight seasons with the Penguins. In 1969-70, Schock appeared in 76 games and scored 29 points. During the franchise's first postseason appearance in 1970, Schock played in 10 games and netted seven poitns. He followed that up in 1970-71 by playing in 71 games and recording 41 points. During 1971-72, Schock played in 77 games and scored 46 points. In that spring's postseason, Schock played in four games and recorded one assist. Dressing for 78 games in 1972-73, Schock compiled 49 points. Named the franchise's third captain in 1973-74, Schock played in 77 games and netted 43 points. Schock's best season was 1974-75 when he set career highs for games (80), goals (23), assists (63) and points (80). In nine games that postseason, he recorded four points. The 1975-76 campaign, Schock appeared in 80 games and scored 62 points. In the playoffs, he recorded one assist in three games. Schock's final season in Pittsburgh was 1976-77. He played in 80 games and scored 49 points.  During the postseason, he appeared in three games and netted on assist. In the 1977 offseason, he was traded to the Sabres in exchange for Brian Spencer. Schock appeared in 619 games with the Penguins, (sixth-most), scored 404 points (12th-most) and 14 shorthanded goals (second-most). Arguably the most durable player in franchise history, Schock holds the franchise record for consecutive games with 313. In 29 postseason games, he scored 14 points.

-Happy 42nd birthday to former Penguins forward Robert Lang (right). Claimed off waivers from the Bruins early in the 1997-98 season, Lang spent parts of five seasons with the Penguins. He finished 1997-98 by appearing in 51 games for the Penguins and scoring 22 points. During that spring's playoffs, he appeared in six games and recorded six assists. He followed that up in 1998-99 by playing in 72 games and recording 44 points. In the 1999 postseason, he saw action in 12 games and recorded two assists. In 1999-2000, Lang played in 78 games and scored 65 points. The 2000 playoffs saw him appear in 11 games and score six points. Lang's best season was 2000-01. Playing primarily on a line with Alex Kovalev and Martin Straka, Lang set career highs for games (82), goals (32), assists (48) and points (80). During that spring's postseason, Lang appeared in 16 games and scored eight points. In 2001-02, Lang appeared in 62 games and scored 50 points. During the 2002 offseason, Lang joined the Capitals as a free agent. In 345 regular season games with the Penguins, Lang scored 261 points, 27th-most in franchise history. In 45 postseason games, he scored 19 points.

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Southeast Division

-Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback suffered a minor knee injury requiring stitches while practicing with Ilves Tampere of Finland's SM-liiga.

-“We’re keeping busy, but we’re not coming in here every day and staring at each other. We’ll be ready to go. We’re more than ready to go. We are impatiently waiting for our next move.’’ - Panthers coach Kevin Dineen on his staff's activities during the lockout.

Northwest Division

-Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon, currently signed with the SCL Tigers of Switzerland's NLA, is dealing with a groin injury.

Adams Division

-How much damage has the lockout already done to the game's popularity?

-Does the NHL have a chance at winning its lawsuit against the NHLPA?

-Former Senators/Islanders forward Alexei Yashin (right), currently out of professional hockey, has become the general manager of Russia's women's national team.

-Former Lightning/Blackhawks defenseman Radek Smolenak has joined Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod of Russia's KHL.

(Photos: Jeffrey-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; Schock-Penguins Hockey Cards; Lang-Ian Tomlinson/Allsport/Getty Images; Yahsin-Robert Laberge/Allsport/Getty Images)

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