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Empty Netter Assists - 04-17-13

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-While nothing is finalized, the NHL has plans to play six outdoor games next season, including a match-up involving the Penguins and Blackhawks in Chicago's Soldier Field March 1. According to TSN, the other five games would include:

• Maple Leaf vs. Red Wings at Michigan Stadium, Jan. 1
• Ducks vs. Kings at Dodger Stadium, Jan. 25
• Devils vs. Rangers at Yankee Stadium, Jan. 26
• Islanders vs. Rangers at Yankee Stadium, Jan 29
• Senators at Canucks, BC Place, March 2

-EN Says: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ... Wha? Another outdoor game? Six of them in fact? Talk about over-saturation. The reason outdoor games have become special affairs is because they are unique. For the most part, the NHl has had only one a season since 2008. That's why it's called THE Winter Classic. All six of those games will surely sell out and be a financial success. But there's something to be said for exclusivity. Even in its current incarnation of being a yearly event, the exotic nature of the Winter Classic has waned. What's going to happen when outdoor games are rammed down the throats of NHL fans? Will outdoor games still remain a high-demand draw?

-"Abe and Louie's Steakhouse is right where it happened, right on Boylston [Street], and that's where [my wife and I] got engaged. We have the most amazing memories on that street -- shopping, sitting outside. This puts a huge dent in those [memories]. Right now, I can't think of that place without thinking about what just happened. It kind of overshadows all those memories." - Joe Vitale (right), a Northeastern alumni, on Monday's bombings which struck the Boston Marathon.

-Heightened security measures will be in place at Consol Energy Center in the aftermath of the bombings.

-How important is first place in the Eastern Conference to the Penguins?

-Get used to seeing Douglas Murray and Matt Niskanen as the team's third defensive pairing.

-Sidney Crosby, Paul Martin and James Neal continued to skate on their own. (PG+)

-Goaltender Eric Hartzell has been added to the Penguins' NHL roster and will wear No. 31.

-Dan Byslma speaks:

-Jarome Iginla speaks:

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins signed defenseman Peter Merth to a professional tryout agreement.

-Penguins forward prospect Matia Marcantuoni, a fourth round pick in 2012, has joined the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. It has not been reported in which fashion he has joined.

-Happy 32nd birthday to former Penguins forward Konstantin Koltsov (right). The team's first-round pick in the 1999 draft, Kolsov spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. After getting a brief cup of coffee in the form of two games in 2002-03, Koltsov appeared in all 82 of the Penguins' games in 2003-04 and recorded 29 points. Following the 2004-05 lockout, Koltsov appeared in 60 games in 2005-06 and recorded six points. In the 2006 offseason, he joined Ufa Salavat Yulayev in Russia. He is still a member of that team. In 144 career games with the Penguins, Koltsov, one of three players in franchise history to wear No. 71 (Evgeni Malkin and Jiri Slegr are the others) had 38 points.

-Happy 54th birthday to former Penguins forward Jimmy Mann. A free agent signing the 1987 offseason, Mann's Penguins career amounted to all of nine games and zero points in 1987-88. While his time with the Penguins isn't all that notable, Mann is somewhat infamous to some Penguins fans. During a game in Winnipeg in 1981-82, Penguins forward Paul Gardner hit Jets forward Doug Smail with a cross check to the face. Mann responded by coming off the bench to sucker punch Gardner and broke his jaw in two places. Mann was suspended 10 games by the NHL and was actually convicted of assault by the province of Manitoba but had his sentence suspended.

-Happy 51st birthday to former Penguins forward Bob Geale. An eighth-round pick in 1980, his NHL career amounted to one game with the 1984-85 Penguins in which he recorded two penalty minutes and was a minus-1. After spending the 1985-86 season in Baltimore of the AHL, he joined EC Heilbronn in West Germany.

-After the Jump: The Bruins get back to hockey and Detroit's Jimmy Howard gets paid.

Atlantic Division

-Kimmo Timonen had a goal and an assist for the Flyers in a 4-2 defeat of the rival Rangers. Claude Giroux recorded two assists for Philadelphia while teammate Steve Mason made 38 saves.

-Rangers forward and former Penguin Arron Asham had a wild fight with Philadelphia's Jay Rosehill:

-Check out this rocket of a slapper by Timonen:

-Mason kept an eye on this puck:

-New York's Henrik Lundqvist had less success keeping track of this puck:

-Rangers forward Brian Boyle left the game in the first period due to an apparent right leg injury.

-Michael Grabner scored two goals for the Islanders in a 5-2 win against the Panthers. Captain Mark Streit added a goal and an assist for New York while teammate Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves. Marcel Goc led Florida with a goal and an assist.

-Check out this lead pass by New York's Andrew MacDonald to spring Grabner on a breakaway:

-Islanders forward and former Penguin Colin McDonald leveled Florida's Tyson Strachan on this check:

-Nabokov was all over this puck:

-New York's Keith Aucoin showed some support for Boston on his skates:

-With former Penguins goaltender Johan Hedberg recovered from a groin injury, the Devils assigned goaltender Keith Kinkaid to Albany of the AHL.

-With defensemen Bruno Gervais (abdominal) and Kent Huskins (concussion) sidelined, the Flyers recalled defensemen Matt Konan and Brandon Manning from Adirondack of the AHL.

Northeast Division

-Craig Anderson made 32 saves for the Senators in a 3-2 win against the Hurricanes. Former Penguin Sergei Gonchar recorded two assists for Ottawa. Fire Ray Shero. Justin Faulk and captain Eric Staal each had a goal and an assist for Carolina.

-Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner was injured after he was struck in the head by Senators defenseman Jared Cowen in the first period. Cowen was not penalized. The play in question:

-Cowen returned to the lineup after being sidelined since November due to hip surgery.

-Check out this nasty little toe-drag goal by Ottawa's Milan Michalek:

-Check out thie passing on this goal by Staal:

-Save of the Night: Anderson on Carolina's Joe Corvo:

-Fight of the Night: Carolina's Tim Gleason versus Ottawa's Chris Neil:

-A good look at the fight:

-Monday's Senators-Bruins game at T.D. Garden in Boston which was canceled in the aftermath of Monday's bombings has been rescheduled for April 28, 7 p.m.

-“Boston, for me personally and my family, it’s a city we’ve fallen in love with. When you see something like that happen, there’s no doubt it affects you as an individual and even for us as a group.’’ - Bruins coach Claude Julien on Monday's bombings.

-“I think it would have been impossible, so the right decision was made by everyone involved. The right decision was made, and it was made early, so that there would be no question about it.” - Senators coach Paul MacLean on the game being postponed.

-"The Boston Marathon is huge. Marathon Monday is huge. People go out having fun all day long. It's a good time all day. For something like that to happen is devastating. If I didn't have this great opportunity, I'd probably would have been down there hanging out with my team. It hit me like that. I would have been somewhere in the vicinity." - Sabres rookie defenseman Chad Ruhwedel, a Massachusetts-Lowell alumni, on Monday's bombings.

-With forward Patrice Bergeron (concussion) expected to return to the lineup tonight against the Sabres, the Bruins assigned forward Jordan Caron to Providence of the AHL.

-Bruins forward Milan Lucic (right) has only six goals this season.

-After two bad starts by goaltender Carey Price, the Canadiens will start backup goaltender Peter Budaj against the Penguins tonight.

-Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul returned to the lineup against the Capitals last night after missing five games due to a concussion.

Southeast Division

-Shootout goals by Mike Santorelli and captain Andrew Ladd gave the Jets a 4-3 win against the Lightning. Ladd had two regulation goals and an assist while teammate Blake Wheeler added a regulation goal and two assists.  Ondrej Pavelec made 24 saves in the victory.

-Check out this nasty little wrister by Ladd:

-Goal of the Night: Check out the puck-handling here by Wheeler:

-Check out this laser of a wrister by Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos:

-Jets forward and former Penguin Eric Tangradi had a bout with Tampa Bay's Nate Thompson:

-Winnipeg's Ben Bishop had issues with this puck:

-Martin Erat and captain Alex Ovechkin each had a goal and an assist for the Capitals in a 5-1 win against the Maple Leafs. John Carlson, Mike Green and Mike Ribeiro each recorded two assists for Washington while teammate Braden Holtby made 29 saves. Washington has won eight consecutive games.

-Check out this subtle deflection goal by Erat:

-Check out this rocket of a one-timer by Ovechkin:

-Ovechkin had a nice follow-through on this shot:

-Happy times for Washington's Troy Brouwer:

-Everyone had issues here:

-Toronto's Ben Scrivens kicked out this puck:

-Capitals coach Adam Oates made the case for Ovechkin to win the Hart Trophy.

-If nothing else, Ovechkin is the MVP of this street hockey game on F Street:

-The Jets signed forward Adam Lowry, a third-round pick in 2011. Terms of the deal were not reported.

-Goaltender Dan Ellis was named the Hurricanes' nominee for the Masterton Trophy.

-Injured Panthers forward Krys Versteeg has takend on the tall task of selling season tickets for the team:

Central Division

-Shootout goals by Andy McDonald and Alexander Steen gave the Blues a 2-1 win against the Canucks. Brian Elliott made 21 saves in the victory.

-Blues captain David Backes appeared to chirp Canucks forward Zack Kassian from the penalty box about his ... hairline:

-Steen had Vancouver's Cory Schneider totally fooled here:

-Elliott > Vancouver's Derek Roy:

-Vancouver's Tom Sestito got the drop here on St. Louis' Jay Bouwmeester in front of the Blues' bench:

-The Red Wings signed goaltender Jimmy Howard to a six-year contract extension worth a total of $31.8 million. In the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.25 million, Howard's new deal will have a cap hit of $5.3 million. In 36 games this season, Howard, 29, has a 17-12-6 record with a 2.31 goals against average, .920 save percentage and three shutouts.

-EN Says: This is a nice signing for everyone involved. It brings an element to stability to the Red Wings who are going to a transition phrase with several stalwart players recently retiring. Howard is a legitimate franchise goaltender. That said, with a new contract such as this, he now must start leading this team to postseason success. As the team's primary starter the past three seasons, he has failed to get the Red Wings past the second round. He must get results as one of this team's stars.

-The Predators assigned forwards Daniel Bang, Austin Watson and defenseman Mattias Ekholm to Milwaukee of the AHL.

-The Blue Jackets recalled defenseman David Savard from Springfield of the AHL under emergency conditions.

-Blues forward T.J. Brodie underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left ankle.

Northwest Division

-Kyle Brodziak scored two goals for the Wild in a 5-3 win against the Oilers. Jason Pominville and Clayton Stoner each recorded two assists for Minnesota while teammate Niklas Backstrom made 16 saves in the victory. Rookie Nail Yakupov Led Edmonton with a goal and an assist.

-There was another questionable boarding penalty in this game as Edmonton's Jordan Eblere hit Minneota's Jared Spurgeon from the side and into the boards:

-Minnesota's Charlie Coyle > Edmonton's Ladislav Smid:

-Yakupov and Backstrom each kept an eye on this puck:

-With former Penguins forward Mike Rupp dealing with an undisclosed injury, the Wild recalled forward Mikael Grandlund from Houston of the AHL under emergency conditions.

-The Wild assigned goaltender Josh Harding to Houston for a conditioning assignment.

-“I go down to Boylston Street three, four days a week for lunch. It’s just so close to home. You see a scene like that in the Middle East and you don’t think twice, then you see it happens where you live ... it’s surreal.” - Oilers defenseman and former Penguin Ryan Whitney, a native of Boston, on Monday's bombings.

-“Marathon Monday is such a tradition — Patriots’ Day is such a tradition — in Boston,” he said after Tuesday morning’s practice at the Scotiabank Saddledome. “It’s a signal that spring is there. Everyone’s pretty happy and outside. That tradition, I think, had been stained big time. I don’t think it’ll ever be the same.” - Flames forward Lee Stempniak, a native of Boston, on Monday's bombings.

Pacific Division

-A shootout goal by Raffi Torres gave the Sharks a 3-2 win against the rival Kings. Antti Niemi made 41 saves in the victory.

-Defenisve Play of the Night: Check out this steal by San Jose's Brent Burns which led to a goal:

-Torres being popular:

-Niemi > Los Angeles' Mike Richards:

-“In our opinion, he’s the best goalie in the league." - Sharks forward Logan Couture on Niemi.

-"Niemi doesn't get any credit, being out West. What's he got, 20-some wins? He was the best player on the ice tonight, that's for sure." - Kings coach Darryl Sutter.

-The Ducks recalled defensemen Sami Vatanen and Jordan Hendry from Norfolk of the AHL.

-Anaheim signed undrafted forward Antoine Laganiere, formerly of Yale, to a two-year entry-level contract.

-The Stars recalled forward Reilly Smith from Texas of the AHL under emergency conditions. Additionally, with goaltender Kari Lehtonen ready to return from a groin injury, the Stars assigned goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp to Texas.

Norris Division

-Former Sabres coach Lindy Ruff is expected to coach Team Canada in next month's IIHF World Championships.

(Photos: Winter Classic-Jamie Squire/Getty Images; Vitale-Harry How/Getty Images; Koltsov-Nick Laham/Getty Images; Rangers/Flyers-H. Rumph Jr./Associated Press; Panthers/Islanders-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images and Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press; Hurricanes/Senators-Justin Tang/Canadian Press; Lucic-Claus Andersen/Getty Images; Lightning/Jets-Trevor Hagan/Canadian Press; Maple Leafs/Capitals-Alex Brandon/Associated Press and Greg Fiume/Getty Images; Canucks/Blues-Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Associated Press and Jeff Roberson/Associated Press; Oilers/Wild-John Ulan/Canadian Press; Kings/Sharks-Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

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