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Empty Netter Assists - 02-01-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-"It obviously didn't work out for me or the team, but it is what it is. I don't know what the reasons were, but I don't hold any grudges or anything." - Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek (above) on his time with the Penguins.

-Kris Letang's illness is expected to sideline him for tonight's game against the Coyotes.

-Jussi Jokinen and Matt Niskanen are two of the most productive players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents this offseason.

-"Sid, obviously, takes the brunt of the spotlight and Gino kind of flies under the radar and does his thing, but I don’t think he flies under the radar [in terms of] how skilled he is or how good a player he is. I think everybody treats him just as equally as Sid.” - James Neal on the dynamic between Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

-Eric Hartzell made 16 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 2-1 loss to the Norfolk Admirals.

-Highlights:

-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defenseman Brian Dumoulin left the game in the second period due to a due to a suspected leg injury.

A shootout goal by Jack MacLellan gave the Wheeling Nailers a 3-2 win against the Kalamazoo Wings. Nick D'Agostino recorded two assists for Wheeling while Peter Mannino made 35 saves.

-Happy 46th birthday to former Penguins all-star forward Mark Recchi (right). A fourth-round pick in 1988, Recchi spent parts of seven seasons with the Penguins over three different stints. As a rookie in 1988-89, Recchi appeared in 15 games and recorded two points. He followed that up in 1989-90 by playing in 74 games and recording 67 points. In 1990-91, Recchi saw action in 78 games and led the team with 40 goals and 113 points. During that spring's postseason, Recchi played in all 24 of the team's games and scored 34 points while helping the franchise claim the Stanley Cup for the first time. After 58 games and 70 games in 1991-92, Recchi was traded to the Flyers along with Brian Benning and a draft pick in exchange for Rick Tocchet, Kjell Samuelsson, Ken Wregget and a draft pick. After several seasons with the Flyers and Canadiens, Recchi returned to the Penguins as a free agent in the 2004 offseason. Following the 2004-05 lockout, Recchi played in 63 games and scored 57 points in 2005-06 before being traded to the Hurricanes at the trade deadline in exchange for Niklas Nordgren, Krys Kolanos and a draft pick. Recchi returned to the Penguins yet again as a free agent in the 2006 offseason. In 2006-07, he played in all 82 games and scored 68 points. During the 2007 postseason, he appeared in five games and recorded four assists. After 18 games and eight points in 2007-08, Recchi was claimed off waivers by the Thrashers. In 389 regular season games with the Penguins, Recchi scored 385 points, 13th-most in franchise history. In 29 playoff games, he scored 38 points, 12th-most in franchise history.

-Happy 76th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Bob Blackburn. Claimed from the Rangers in an intra-league draft during the 1969 offseason, Blackburn spent two seasons with the Penguins. In 1969-70, he appeared in 60 games and scored 11 points. He appeared in six games that postseason and failed to record a point. During 1970-69, Blackburn saw action in 64 games and scored nine points. Just prior to 1971-72, he was traded to Vancouver of the WHL in exchange for cash. In 124 games with the Penguins, he scored 20 points.

-Happy 24th birthday to current Penguins forward Jayson Megna. A free agent signing in the 2012 offseason, Megna is currently in his rookie season. In 21 games, he has six points.

-After the Jump: Last minute goals force overtime in Detroit and Nashville while Team USA names its captain.

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Zachary Quinto reportedly signed to 'Agent 47' with Rupert Friend

Written by Sharon Eberson on .

Deadline.com reports that Zachary Quinto, star of stage ("The Glass Menagerie) and screen ("Star Trek's" Spock 2.0) will by in the "Hitman" sequel "Agent 47," with Rupert Friend ("Homeland"). Paul Walker had been cast in the lead and his death in a car crash postponed filming for director Aleksander Bach. The project will now go before the cameras in March, Deadline said.

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Jokinen, Niskanen among NHL's most productive UFAs - 01-31-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Jussi Jokinen (above) played a large role in the Penguins 4-1 win at Los Angeles Thursday. Playing primarily with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal on the team's second line, he recorded three points. This season, he has been one of the team's most productive players with 39 points, fourth most on the Penguins.

He's also scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Along with defenseman Matt Niskanen, the Penguins have two of the league's top 15 scorers who are scheduled hit become unrestricted free agent this offseason:

Note: These totals do not include Friday's games:

Player, position Team Age Games
Played
Goals-
Assists-
Points
Current
Salary Cap Hit
Thomas Vanek, LW Islanders 30 53 19-28-47 $7,142,857
Jaromir Jagr, RW Devils 41 55 16-30-46 $4 million
Paul Stastny, C Avalanche 28 49 16-23-39 $6.6 million
Jussi Jokinen, LW Penguins 30 54 16-23-39 $3 million-*
David Legwand, C Predators 33 55 9-28-37 $4.5 million
Jarome Iginla, RW Bruins 36 53 15-21-36 $6 million
Radim Vrbata LW Coyotes 32 52 12-24-36 $3 million
Matt Moulson, LW Sabres 30 51 15-18-31 $3,133,333
Mason Raymond, LW Maple Leafs 28 56 14-19-33 $1 million
Mikhail Grabovski, C Capitals 30 49 12-21-33 $3 million
Daniel Alfredsson, RW Red Wings 41 41 12-20-32 $5.5 million
Matt Niskanen, D Penguins 27 54 7-25-32 $2.3 million
Olli Jokinen, C Jets 35 55 13-18-31 $4.5 million
Derek Roy, C Blues 30 50 8-23-31 $4 million
Marek Zidlicky, D Devils 36 54 8-21-29 $4 million

*-The Penguins are only responsible for $2.1 million of Jokinen's salary cap hit.

-Salary cap figures are courtesy CapGeek.com.

(Photos: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Ten Super Bowl commercials to look forward to this year

Written by Nicole Martin on .

The Steelers will not be playing in the Super Bowl this year, but Pittsburgh will have a reason to tune in for the big game on Sunday because this will not be just about the Broncos and the Seahawks. It's about which company will come up with the most amusing ad so that we consider buying its product.

So much for betting on the teams, I've got my money on capitalism!

Here are the best ads to keep an eye out for this coming Sunday.

 

1. Dannon Oikos — Spill

In a teasing teaser, John Stamos is doing what he does best, making women swoon... until he takes his pants off.

2. Budweiser Puppy Love

When I think of beer I always think of heartwarming moments and sappy love songs, don't you? Adorable puppies and horses and how they become friends, that's what Budweiser is all about, obviously.

3. 2015 Hyundai Genesis Dad’s Sixth Sense

It's sentimental, OK? The super dads preventing disasters... still wondering whether featuring supermoms and calling it Mom's Sixth Sense would be closer to reality.

4. Jaguar British Villains ‘Rendezvous’

"Have you ever noticed in Hollywood films that all the villains are played by Brits?" Well, Jaguar has, and they want you to know --“It’s good to be bad.” I would have to agree.

5. Bud Light Arnold Schwarzenegger Ping-Pong

Anything involving Schwarzenegger is a must see. He is not quite a Terminator in this one though, a bad rug, stilted moves and not a very attractive pair of legs. Is that what Bud Light does to you?

 

6. Cheerios And a puppy..

OK, so this is basically an ad selling you cardboard rings for breakfast, almost as terrible as rice cakes. (But seriously though, who actually likes rice cakes?) This kid is pretty darn clever though.

 

7. New Castle Anna Kendrick non-commercial

Well done, New Castle. This clever satire on a “cancelled” Super Bowl commercial is very well played. You can decide whether Anna Kendrick is just hot or beer-commercial hot?

 

8. Ford Rob Riggle

The teaser for this James Franco commercial is enough to intrigue. I just hope it’s not another copycat Old Spice commercial theme.

9. Doritos Finger Cleaner

This will be just one of the many Doritos commercials that air during the big game. But this one is a Yikes.... makes me cringe.

10. SodaStream 'Sorry, Coke and Pepsi’

This commercial may or may not be airing during the Super Bowl, but it is definitely worth mentioning. This controversial ad has rumored to be banned due to the line, ‘Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.’ The network seems to be a little scared of the consequences of calling out two of their biggest sponsors. You may see a censored version of the ad, but here is the better version.

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Jim Ferry talks rematch with La Salle and strength of A-10

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

Duquesne faces La Salle tonight for the second time this season. Here's the transcript from a quick chat today with Dukes coach Jim Ferry.

What can you take away from that NJIT game and late comeback?

"I'd rather win a game like that, where we had to make some plays and make some adjustments. Guys really stepped up. I think you learn more from winning games like that than you do from having a blowout. Going from league games to a non-league game was difficult. We came out a little bit flat. But we made plays to win the game, so we've got to give ourselves credit in that regard."

I know it's built into the schedule, but do you like that one-game break from A-10 play?

"No, I do not. I do not. Scheduling is just really difficult nowadays. We had a bye, and we needed a road game. It worked out, but it's tough. It's tough to lock the guys in and get them focused when you're battling in conference play."

Anything in particular you can learn or do differently in a non-league game like that?

"I think we took a lot out of that game. We needed to put on some full-court pressure with about 10 minutes to go to change the tempo of the game. We needed to do some things that we haven't done in the past. Derrick Colter had an awful game until he went back into the game with five minutes to go and made two big threes for us. The 'sticktoitiveness' of our team to stay with the game plan and keep fighting ... our guys made plays to win the game. You get a lot out of that, no question."

Do you find any value in the simple fact that you've surpassed your win total from last season, or is that just a number?

"I'm not putting any stock in that at all. I know we've gotten better. We've been playing better basketball, and we've gotten better. This is a totally different team from last year, but I think we've gotten better. With all the young kids and new kids we have, I think each game we've played we've gotten better. That's the sign of a team headed in the right direction. Our focus is on continuing to get better as we grind it out and get closer to the Atlantic 10 season."

This is your first rematch of the season; how will you adjust to facing La Salle for the second time?

"Whenever you play a team for the second time, adjustments are made. Both teams are going to make adjustments. I don't think we played very well in that first game, even though it was a relatively close game for a while. I didn't think we played well at all. We definitely didn't play as well as we've been playing. We have to make the proper adjustments to beat this team. We have to do a better job defensively and do a better job of rebounding the basketball. Same on the offensive side; we've got to play with substance; we've got to move the ball like we've been moving it lately. If we can do those things and make the proper adjustments, we're going to give ourselves a chance."

Steve Zack seemed to be the X-factor three weeks ago; what do Ovie Soko and Dominique McKoy have to do to slow him?

"The kid's averaging a double-double in the Atlantic 10. We know we've got to understand where he is at all times. We've got to try to keep him off the glass. He's a facilitator. He's the one who keeps their offense running. We've got to make him feel uncomfortable and make him make difficult plays. The key is to keep these guys out of the lane; they're such great break-down guards. We've got to keep them out of the lane, and we've got to beat them on the glass. If we can do those things, we're going to give ourselves a chance to win."

Soko seems to have rounded back into form; what's changed in the last couple games?

"He made some adjustments. We watched tape and showed him what he'd been doing differently, and he made the proper adjustments. I think the officials have been calling the fouls again like they were at the beginning of the year. That's a huge factor. But, again, La Salle was a game he had a tough time with. He's got to make the proper adjustments from the way he played the last game."

La Salle hosts a pretty tough environment in Philly ...

"We just got done practicing here at La Salle, had a good practice, and again, we've got to make the proper adjustments. We've got to come out and play really hard, but we've got to play really smart as well."

Do you have to watch out for a team like La Salle currently on a three-game losing streak?

"Absolutely. They're not going to be the only team in the league that goes through a three-game losing streak. I said that in a previous press conference. It happens to everybody. This league is too good. This league is too good. They lost at St. Bonaventure; they lost in double overtime to VCU; they lost at [George Washington]. That's going to happen to a lot of people. This is a really good team, a team that went to the Sweet 16 and has four starters back. They can play with poise; they're really good; they're exceptionally good at home. Again, I don't take any stock into whether they're winning or losing. They are who they are. We've got to play the right way against them."

Seeing how A-10 teams have just beaten up on each other week after week the last month, is that a sign of a strong league?

"Yeah. I'm a little concerned, to be honest. That's exactly what's happened; everybody's beating up on everybody, everybody's beating everybody. Well, come NCAA tournament time, the teams that go from the league will be beaten up. Who's going to be fresh and ready to go? It's going to be interesting. That's what a great league is. When you have a league that is this deep top to bottom ... and that's exactly what this is. You look at Dayton at 1-5; they were top-25 a couple weeks ago. That's what this league does, man. It's a monster. That's why you've really got to focus on one game at a team, and you've got to focus on your own team and getting better. I think we've done a really great job of that so far."


Stephen J. Nesbitt: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.

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