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Empty Netter Assists - 04-15-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-"Maybe people don't see us as much as the favorite. I think that's fine. No problem." - Marc-Andre Fleury (right) on the playoffs.

-"Playing kind of meaningless games, it's not easy to get motivated. I think we did a pretty good job with it, but you can probably see it that the games really didn't matter that much." - Olli Maatta.

-The Penguins recalled goaltender Tomas Vokoun from a conditioning stint with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-"Hopefully, I don’t play." - Jeff Zatkoff on the next two months.

-The big screen is back.

-"Boys did the right thing; I don’t expect anything after something like that. It was a clean hit, we’ve moved on and we’ve had a good week and a bit since then. Put it behind us.’’ - Blackhawks captain/forward Jonathan Toews on being injured on a hit by Brooks Orpik March 30.

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins recalled goaltender Eric Hartzell from the Wheeling Nailers.

-Happy 49th birthday to the best power forward in franchise history:

-Happy 34th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Micki DuPont. Acquired at the 2003 trade deadline along with Mathias Johansson in a deal which sent Shean Donovan to the Flames, Dupont's Penguins career amounted to three game and one assist with the 2006-07 team. In the 2007 offseason, he joined the Blues as a free agent. He currently plays for Kloten of the NLA in Switzerland.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-"We're anticipating them both being ready at some point in this series." - Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on the health of forwards Nick Foligno (knee) and R.J. Umberger ("upper body").

-The Rangers recalled forward J.T. Miller (right), a native of East Palestine, Ohio, from Hartford of the AHL.

-Will Flyers goaltender Steve Mason be healthy enough to begin the playoffs?

-Flyers forward Scott Hartnell was fined $5,000 by the NHL for spearing Hurricanes defenseman Brett Bellemore Sunday.

-The Devils assigned forwards Mike Sislo, Tim Sestito, defenseman Jon Merrill and Adam Larsson to Albany of the AHL.

-Devils forward Ryane Clowe revealed he suffered a concussion March 31.

-New Jersey defenseman Mark Fayne suffered a groin injury in the team's season finale Sunday.

-Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador revealed he missed the season's final 10 games due to a torn right labrum.

-Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin will undergo wrist surgery.

-"I signed six years because I wanted to be here. There's no part of me that wants to leave. I think [the talk] is a product of the team not winning, and the perception around here from other markets is always a lot different from what actually happens. I know we've still got some great things we can accomplish here and my mindset hasn't changed. I'm excited to come back next year and I've always loved being here." - Islanders captain/forward John Tavares (right) snuffing out a rumor he wanted to leave the team.

-The Islanders assigned forwards John Persson, Johan Sundstrom, Mike Halmo, Justin Johnson, Brett Gallant, defensemen Scott Mayfield and Matt Donovan to Bridgeport of the AHL.

-“It’s part of my job. I’m captain of the team and of course I have to take responsibility. I have to take criticism.” - Capitals captain/forward Alex Ovechkin on his team missing the postseason.

-The Capitals assigned defenseman Julien Brouillette and center Peter LeBlanc to Hershey of the AHL.

Atlantic Division

-With Ben Bishop dealign with an "upper-body" injury, it appears Anders Lindback (right) will be the the Lightning's starting goaltender heading into the postseaosn.

-The Red Wings assigned goaltender Petr Mrazek to Grand Rapids of the AHL.

-"We're not counting on Dennis to be back. We're going to be very cautious with his injury. He has been skating, but that's all I can say on it. It really hasn't changed." - Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli on the status of defenseman Dennis Seidenberg who is dealing with a knee injury.

-The Bruins assigned forwards Craig Cunningham, Justin Florek, Alexander Khokhlachev, and Matt Lindblad to Providence of the AHL.

-Canadiens foward Lars Eller resumed practicing after missing three games due to a an illness.

-The Panthers assigned defenseman Colby Robak to San Antonio of the AHL.

-"We’ve got to change the culture, we’ve got to change the standards – but enough’s enough. Joke’s over." - Sabres defenseman Mike Weber on his team's struggles in recent seasons.

-Sabres defenseman Alexander Sulzer was diagnosed with a concussion.

-Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers (right) revealed he missed the final 10 games of the regular season due to broken ribs.

-"I worry about my future every day. I don’t come in here for one day and not worry about my future. Same as when I played. It’s a privilege to work in this league. Whether you’re a player, a coach or in the media or whatever your job is in this league, it’s a privilege. You should be worried every day that somebody wants your job. I have that fear every day.” - Senators coach Paul MacLean on his status.

-The Senators assigned forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Mark Stone and defenseman Cody Ceci to Binghamton of the AHL.

-“Winning is a simple solution. We’re not going to win a game sitting up here today… Nothing we say here today matters. It's about the work we put in here, and it’s about results." - Brendan Shanahan on taking over as the Maple Leafs' president.

-Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier will undergo surgery to correct a sports hernia.

Central Division

-The Predators will not renew the contract of Barry Trotz (right), the only head coach in the history of the franchise. Hired in 1995, Trotz coached the Predators in 1,196 regular season games and a 557-479-60-100 record. The team never advanced past the second round of the postseason under Trotz.

-"It hurts because of the good memories. It's not a sad day, but a joyous day really. It's sad because I'm not going to be around my friends as much." - Trotz.

-“It’s our fault that he left. We didn’t play good enough for him. He can’t be on the ice, he just puts the right players out there. In the end this is our fault that he gets fired, and obviously that’s a huge responsibility for us and we have to be better next year.” - Predators forward Patric Hornqvist on Trotz.

Pacific Division

-Will Antti Niemi or Alex Stalock be the Sharks' starting goaltender in the playoffs?

-"It's personal. It's L.A.” - Sharks forward Tomas Hertl on facing the Kings in the first round. Hertl missed 45 games due to a knee injury he suffered when he was hit low by Kings captain/forward Dustin Brown Dec. 19.

-The Sharks recalled defenseman Matt Tennyson from Worcester of the AHL.

-It appears goaltender Jonas Hiller is out of the picture as the Ducks' starter heading into the postseason.

-Flames forward Sean Monahan (right) will play for Team Canada in the upcoming IIHF World Championships. Flames captain/defenseman Mark Giordano declined an invitation to play on account of a hand injury.

-The Flames assigned defensemen Chad Billins and Chris Breen to Abbotsford of the AHL and Mark Cundari to Chicago of the AHL.

-"I don't like the way he [Hartley] does business. I don't like him, and eventually I guess why I am talking about it in this way is because I need to protect my players and a lot of people don't understand that, so I'll just leave it at that." - Canucks coach John Tortorella on Flames coach Bob Hartley. Tortorella objected to Hartley arguing with officials Sunday after Flames forward Paul Byron injured Canucks forward Daniel Sedin with a hit from behind.

-"John Tortorella was on my staff for the Olympics in 2010. He's a good guy. I don't know what's going on in his head, but you know what? Shut your mouth and worry about your team. Leave my coach alone." - Flames general manager Brian Burke.

-"I was scared because I felt something wasn't right. I hit my head into the glass and fell down and when I tried to lift my head I couldn't get it off the ice. It was scary, but I went to the hospital and everything looked good. So it feels okay today." - Sedin on the hit.

-The Canucks assigned defenseman Frank Corrado and forward Nicklas Jensen to Utica of the AHL.

Patrick Division

-The NHL will hold its draft lottery tonight, 8 p.m.

(Photos: Claus Andersen/Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, Paul Bereswill/Getty Images, Harry How/Getty Images, Rick Stewart/Getty Images and Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

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Norwin's Matijevic hits home run in sixth-consecutive game

Written by Mike White on .

J.J. Matijevic's home-run streak got a little more ridiculous today.

Oh yeah. His consecutive hit streak also reached double figures.

Matijevic, a 6-foot senior shortstop, is on a streak for the ages, and that's not an overstatement. Matijevic hit a home run today in an 11-5 victory against previously undefeated Penn-Trafford. It was the sixth consecutive game Arizona logothat Matijevic has hit a home run. Matijevic is a University of Arizona recruit.

According to the National Federation of State High School Association's record book, Matijevic's home-run streak now ties for the 12th-longest ever in the country. Two other players hit home runs in six consecutive games. Four hit in seven-consecutive games, one in eight and five in nine. The record for consecutive games with a home run is 10 by Ethan Bennett of Knoxville, Tenn., in 2010.

Norwin is 6-1. Matijevic did not hit a home run in the opener, but has hit at least one in six games since. He had two against North Allegheny. For the season, he has seven home runs and a whopping 25 RBIs in only seven games.

Now about the consecutive hits streak. Matijevic was 2 for 2 today against Penn-Trafford. That means he has a hit in 10 consecutive at-bats (not plate apperances, but at-bats. He has some walks). Besides his homer today, he had a two-run double and walked with the bases loaded.

No one has WPIAL home-run records. But I will say that I have been covering WPIAL baseball for more than 30 years and I have never heard of a WPIAL player having this kind of home-run streak. I have heard of similar consecutive-hit streaks. But when you put both of Matijevic's streaks together, it is really incredible.

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Zatkoff: 'I don’t think anyone really knew who I was' - 04-14-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

If you're don't want to see Jeff Zatkoff appear in a game over the next two months, you're not alone. Zatkoff hopes his season is done also.

That's not a condemnation of Zatkoff's play. It's simply the reality of the postseason. If the backup goaltender has to play for any reason, that's never a good development.

Zatkoff wrapped up his regular season with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Senators last night. Thrust into the backup role just days prior to the regular season in the wake of Tomas Vokoun being stricken with blood clots, Zatkoff appeared in 20 games this season and went 12-6-2 with a 2.81 goals against average, a .912 save percentage and one shutout.

Following last night's game, Zatkoff talked about his first NHL regular season and what life will be like in the postseason:

How do you assess your first regular season at the NHL level?

"This has been a great experience for me. This is my dream to play in the NHL To be able to get the opportunity and to get that chance, it’s been a dream come true. It was a lot of fun. A lot of hard work. It got long at the end there [of the regular season] when I think we saw playoffs in sight. I think everyone was getting anxious there to get to the playoffs. Looking back, it was great. It started off in the first game, probably not like I wanted to but from that, I think I was able to build from each game and establish myself."

How do you feel in terms of confidence as an NHLer after one regular season?

"I think it’s night and day difference. I always believed in myself that I could play at this level but you want to prove it to everyone else. I remember not even be able to sleep for my first few of games. Now, it’s like just another game. You just get comfortable with the guys, the situations, the speed of the game, making you’re reads. The games slowed down the more I’ve played and I’ve been able to build in each experience."

Do you have a greater sense of belonging here now?

I don’t think anyone really knew who I was outside the organization and [the Kings], in terms of fans and being able to play and getting some wins and showing what you could do at this level. Getting the backing of management on the [contract] extension really puts a lot of confidence in you. I think it was a good first season. Obviously looking to build and get better from here.

If things go to plan, you won't play for the next two months. How do you approach the postseason knowing you won't have any scheduled starts?

"Hopefully, I don’t play. Not saying I don’t want to. Same way I’ve been going. Really, my games are my practices. If I’m ever called upon or just have to go in there for a little while, I’ve just got to make sure I’m ready and on top of my game. No excuses for not being ready just because you’re not expected to play. It just puts a lot more emphasis on my practice habits." 

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

 

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Empty Netter Assists - 04-14-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Dave Molinari's recap from last night's game. The Penguins finished the season with a league-high 529 man-games lost.

-The Ottawa Citizen's recap. The Senators finished 2013-14 with a season-best five-game winning streak.

-The Associated Press' recap. "I like the way we're getting healthy and I like the way we're playing. This year is a little different than others. We're playing good hockey at the right time and that's big for us." - James Neal.

-Highlights:

-Tanner Glass versus Ottawa's Chris Neil:

-A few good looks at the bout:

-Neil also got his meat hooks on Olli Maatta:

-Neil seemed enthused for the offseason:

-Kris Letang went stick-on-puck here to prevent a shot by Ottawa's Erik Karlsson against Jeff Zatkoff:

-Ottawa's Robin Lehner was all over this puck:

-Chris Kunitz whistled this shot wide of Lehner:

-Marc-Andre Fleury and teammates threw out gifts for fans following the game:

-Dan Bylsma speaks:

-Kris Letang speaks:

-The NHL released its playoff schedule.

-Sidney Crosby (Art Ross), Capitals captain/forward Alex Ovechkin (Maurice "Rocket" Richard) and Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick (William M. Jennings) officially captured trophies as the NHL's leading point scorer, goal scorer and the goaltender who allowed the fewest goals respectively this season.

-Welcome back Chuck Kobasew.

-The NHL has a new playoff format.

-“A couple of times we’ve been close to playing a 60-minute game against them and, in a way, that’s what excites us. We know we can play with these guys.” - Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen on the Penguins.

-Assistant coach Jacques Martin wants another head coaching gig.

-Tomas Vokoun made 18 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Marlies. Barry Goers and Anton Zlobin each recoded two assists for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-Highlights:

-Zach Sill returned to the lineup after being sidelined since Jan. 25 due to a skate cut on his arm.

-The Wheeling Nailers will meet the South Carolina Stingrays in an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series of the Kelly Cup playoffs. The schedule:

Game 1 - Friday, April 18th at South Carolina, 7:05 p.m.
Game 2 - Saturday, April 19th at South Carolina, 7:05 p.m.
Game 3 - Wednesday, April 23rd at Wheeling, 7:00 p.m.
Game 4 - Friday, April 25th at Wheeling, 7:00 p.m.
*-Game 5 - Saturday, April 26th at Wheeling, 7:00 p.m.
*-Game 6 - Tuesday, April 29th at South Carolina, 7:05 p.m.
*-Game 7 - Wednesday, April 30th at South Carolina, 7:05 p.m.

*-If necessary

-After the Jump: A special moment in Anaheim.

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Playoff schedule released - 04-13-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The NHL released it's postseason schedule this evening. The Penguins will begin their first-round series with the Blue Jackets Wednesday.

Here is the entire schedule for the first round:

EASTERN CONFERENCE
SERIES C
TIME (ET)  vs. 
NATIONAL
NETWORKS
Wednesday, April 16 7:30 p.m. Blue Jackets at Penguins NBCSN, CBC
Saturday, April 19 7 p.m. Blue Jackets at Penguins NBCSN, CBC
Monday, April 21 7 p.m. Penguins at Blue Jackets NBCSN, CBC
Wednesday, April 23 7 p.m. Penguins at Blue Jackets NBCSN, CBC
*-Saturday, April 26 TBD Blue Jackets at Penguins CBC
*-Monday, April 28 TBD Penguins at Blue Jackets CBC
*-Wednesday, April 30 TBD Blue Jackets at Penguins CBC
SERIES A
TIME (ET)    vs.  NETWORKS
Friday, April 18 7:30 p.m. Red Wings at Bruins NBCSN, TSN
Sunday, April 20 3 p.m. Red Wings at Bruins NBC, TSN
Tuesday, April 22 7:30 p.m. Bruins at Red Wings NBCSN, TSN
Thursday, April 24 8 p.m. Bruins at Red Wings NBCSN, TSN
*Saturday, April 26 3 p.m. Red Wings at Bruins NBC, TSN
*Monday, April 28 TBD Bruins at Red Wings TSN
*Wednesday, April 30 TBD Red Wings at Bruins TSN
       
SERIES B
TIME (ET)   vs. 
NETWORKS
Wednesday, April 16 7 p.m. Canadiens at Lightning CBC, RDS, CNBC
Friday, April 18 7 p.m. Canadiens at Lightning CBC, RDS, CNBC
Sunday, April 20 7 p.m. Lightning at Canadiens CBC, RDS, NBCSN
Tuesday, April 22 7 p.m. Lightning at Canadiens CBC, RDS, NHLN
*-Thursday, April 24 7 p.m. Canadiens at Lightning CBC, RDS, CNBC
*-Sunday, April 27 TBD Lightning at Canadiens CBC, RDS, NBCSN
*-Tuesday, April 29 TBD Canadiens at Lightning CBC, RDS
       
       
SERIES D - M2 Vs. M3
TIME (ET)   vs. 
NETWORKS
Thursday, April 17 7 p.m. Flyers at Rangers CNBC, TSN
Sunday, April 20 Noon Flyers at Rangers NBC, TSN
Tuesday, April 22 8 p.m. Rangers at Flyers CNBC, TSN
Friday, April 25 7 p.m. Rangers at Flyers CNBC, TSN
*-Sunday, April 27 Noon Flyers at Rangers NBC, TSN
*-Tuesday, April 29 TBD Rangers at Flyers TSN
*-Wednesday, April 30 TBD Flyers at Rangers TSN
       
WESTERN CONFERENCE
SERIES E - C1 vs. W1
TIME (ET)   vs.  NETWORKS
Thursday, April 17 9:30 p.m. Wild at Avalanche CNBC, TSN
Saturday, April 19 9:30 p.m. Wild at Avalanche NBCSN, TSN
Monday, April 21 8 p.m. Avalanche at Wild NHLN U.S., TSN
Thursday, April 24 9:30 p.m. Avalanche at Wild CNBC, TSN2
*-Saturday, April 26 TBD Wild at Avalanche TSN
*-Monday, April 28 TBD Avalanche at Wild TSN
*-Wednesday, April 30 TBD Wild at Avalanche TSN
       
SERIES F
TIME (ET)   vs.  NETWORKS
Thursday, April 17 8 p.m. Blackhawks at Blues NBCSN, CBC
Saturday, April 19 3 p.m. Blackhawks at Blues NBC, CBC
Monday, April 21 8:30 p.m. Blues at Blackhawks CNBC, CBC
Wednesday, April 23 9:30 p.m. Blues at Blackhawks NBCSN, CBC
*-Friday, April 25 8 p.m. Blackhawks at Blues NBCSN, CBC
*-Sunday, April 27 3 p.m. Blues at Blackhawks NBC, CBC
*-Tuesday, April 29 TBD Blackhawks at Blues CBC
       
SERIES G
TIME (ET)   vs. 
NETWORKS
Wednesday, April 16 10 p.m. Stars at Ducks NBCSN, TSN
Friday, April 18 10 p.m. Stars at Ducks NBCSN, TSN
Monday, April 21 9:30 p.m. Ducks at Stars NBCSN, TSN
Wednesday, April 23 8 p.m. Ducks at Stars CNBC, TSN
*-Friday, April 25  10:30 p.m. Stars at Ducks NBCSN, TSN
*-Sunday, April 27 TBD Ducks at Stars TSN
*-Tuesday, April 29 TBD Stars at Ducks TSN
       
SERIES H
TIME (ET)   vs.  NETWORKS
Thursday, April 17 10:30 p.m. Kings at Sharks NBCSN, CBC
Sunday, April 20 10 p.m. Kings at Sharks NBCSN, CBC
Tuesday, April 22 10 p.m. Sharks at Kings NBCSN, CBC
Thursday, April 24 10:30 p.m. Sharks at Kings NBCSN, CBC
*-Saturday, April 26 TBD Kings at Sharks NBCSN, CBC
*-Monday, April 28 TBD Sharks at Kings CBC
*-Wednesday, April 30 TBD Kings at Sharks CBC
       

* - if necessary
(Photo: Jay LaPrete/Associated Press)

 

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