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Empty Netter Assists - 01-23-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Sidney Crosby (right) will miss the All-Star Game due to an undisclosed injury.

-NHL rules dictate Crosby must skip Tuesday's game against the Jets if he misses the All-Star Game.

-Rick Tocchet wants more from the fourth line.

-“He’s really been the same player all the time. You’ve really got to give him a lot of credit. It doesn’t matter where he plays, when he plays or who he plays with. He’s the same guy every day, regardless of the venue.” - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coach John Hynes on forward Bobby Farnham.

-Happy 53rd birthday to former Penguins defenseman and picnic jug enthusiast (below) Randy Boyd. A third-round pick in 1980, Boyd spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1981-82, Boyd appeared in 23 games and recorded two assists. He played in three playoff games that spring and failed to record a point. In 1982-83, Boyd saw action in 56 games and scored 18 points. After five ganes and one assist in 1983-84, Boyd was traded to the Blackhawks in exchange for Greg Fox. In 84 regular season games, Randy Boyd scored 21 points.

-Happy 37th birthday to former Penguins forward Martin Sonnenberg. A free agent signing prior to 1998-99, Sonnenberg spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1998-99, he appeared in 44 games and scored two points. He followed that up in 1999-2000 by playing in 14 games and netting three points. After spending the next two seasons with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, he joined the Flames as a free agent in the 2002 offseason. In 58 games with the Penguins, he scored five points.

-Happy 41st birthday to former Penguins defenseman Joel Bouchard. Acquired midway through the 2002-03 season along with Richard Lintner, Rico Fata and Mikael Samuelsson in a deal which sent Mike Wilson, Alex Kovalev, Janne Laukkanen and Dan LaCouture to the Rangers, Bouchard's Penguins' career amounted to seven games and one assist that campaign. During the 2003 offseason, he joined the Sabres as a free agent.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will miss the All-Star Game due to an apparent groin injury.

Atlantic Division

-Senators general manager Bryan Murray is expected to step down following the season.

-The Maple Leafs assigned forward Matt Frattin, Josh Leivo and defenseman Stuart Percy to Toronto of the AHL.

Central Division

-Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson (right) will miss the All-Star Game due to a "lower-body" injury.

-The Avalanche assigned forward Dennis Everberg to Lake Erie of the AHL.

-Predators forward Filip Forsberg was named as an injury replacement for the All-Star Game.

-Blues goaltender Brian Elliott was named as an injury replacement for the All-Star Game.

-After he cleared waivers, the Wild assigned defenseman Justin Falk to Iowa of the AHL.

Pacific Division

-The Kings assigned forward Nick Shore and goaltender J.F. Berube to Manchester of the AHL.

-The Sharks assigned forward Barclay Goodrow, Tomas Hertl and defenseman Dylan DeMelo to Worcester of the AHL.

-The Flames assigned goaltender Joni Ortio, defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon and forward Markus Granlund to Adirondack of the AHL.

(Photos: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images and Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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Reed's late-game heroics lift Colonials to 63-59 win

Written by Craig Meyer on .

EMMITSBURG, Md. – A certain guilt lingered inside Marcquise Reed in the final 30 seconds of a tightly-contested game.

On his Robert Morris team’s previous possession – with Reed running the point and his team down two – the freshman missed an open teammate with a clean look at a game-tying shot.

With 21 seconds remaining and the Colonials trailing Mount St. Mary’s by three, Reed felt that he owed somebody something. There were his teammates who were locked in a hard-fought game against a bitter rival. There were his friends and family who made the hour-and-a-half drive from his native Landover, Md. to see him play. Most of all, there was Reed himself, his own toughest critic.

As the clock dwindled to 13 seconds, the 6-foot-3 guard pulled up to the top of the key and stared down a defender with eight inches of height on him. Undeterred, he knew what he had to do.

“He backed up and all I needed was that little bit of space to see the rim,” Reed said.

Falling away from the basket, Robert Morris’ standout freshman knocked down the shot, giving him the final of his game-high 21 points and forcing overtime, where the Colonials (9-10, 5-2 Northeast Conference) captured a 63-59 victory Thursday night at the Knott Center.

The win came 19 days after the teams’ previous meeting, a 70-45 blowout for the Colonials (9-10, 5-2 Northeast Conference) against an undermanned Mountaineers (8-10, 4-3) team.

Against a much tougher opponent in a matchup with much higher stakes, the team’s budding star came through in the biggest of moments.

“He’s the kind of kid who, usually when he feels like he did something incorrectly, is going to do his best to make up for it,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. “And that’s exactly what he did.”

The Colonials faced a 56-49 deficit with 4:06 remaining after a layup from the Mountaineers’ Gregory Graves. From that moment, though, Mount St. Mary’s did not make a field goal for the final nine minutes of play. During that time, it was routinely denied penetration into its opponents’ zone defense, something that often forced it into contested looks from beyond 3-point range.

Robert Morris had two chances to either tie the game or take the lead in the final two minutes, but it wasn’t until Reed’s 3 with 11 seconds remaining that it was able to draw even.

The victory was the fourth in the past five games for the Colonials, who overcame 21 turnovers against the Mountaineers’ pressure defense by shooting 48.8 percent as a team.

Coaches often emphasize the value of conference road wins, the kind of games that are hard to come by and difficult to earn. For Robert Morris, Thursday night may have represented another springboard in what’s become its most successful run of the season.

“I think it set the tone for the conference,” Reed said. “We’re not slouches, other teams can’t take us as a joke and we’re still going to be on top in the conference.”


Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

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Rapid reaction: Robert Morris 63, Mount St. Mary's 59

Written by Craig Meyer on .

EMMITSBURG, Md. -- Robert Morris came away with what was perhaps its most dramatic win of the season, a 63-59 overtime victory on the road against a Mount St. Mary's team that has knocked it out of the Northeast Conference tournament in each of the past two seasons (of course, this isn't the same Mount St. Mary's team from those years, nor is it the same group for Robert Morris).

Here's a brief rundown of how the game played out and what it could mean moving forward:

Turning point: In such a close game, it wasn't until the final 10 seconds that the result was actually decided. Some might say Marcquise Reed's game-tying 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining gave the Colonials momentum, but that doesn't always last once overtime begins. The true turning point was a rather uneventful one -- it was David Appolon's free throw with five seconds left that pushed Robert Morris' lead to four points, ending any realistic chance at a game-tying shot.

Game ball: It couldn't possibly be anyone other than Reed. The four-time Northeast Conference rookie of the week had a game-high 21 points, none more crucial than his game-tying 3 that came under rather remarkable circumstances. Standing at the top of the key with Kristijan Krajina, the Mountaineers' 6-foot-11 center, guarding him, Reed pulled up, leaned away from the basket to give himself a little extra room and buried a shot that few others could have made. And he's just a freshman. He finished the night 6 of 14 from the field and, most impressively, 8 of 8 from the free throw line.

What it means: Mount St. Mary's, with the return of Chris Martin and Byron Ashe (who didn't play in the teams' last meeting), is a completely different team than the one Robert Morris waxed by 25 points on Jan. 3. Its four-game win streak heading into Thursday proved as much. A loss wouldn't have been overly detrimental, but a win, especially one on the road, is probably the most revealing sign in the Colonials' recent surge that proves they're for real and that they'll be a force in the race for a first-place finish in the conference. The win also featured what was maybe Robert Morris' best defensive showing of the season, as Mount St. Mary's was held without a made field goal for the final nine minutes of play (including overtime).

What's next: A road game against a St. Francis (N.Y.) team that narrowly defeated them at home just last week. The Terriers have won nine of their past 10 games, a run that included a 60-59 victory at Saint Francis (Pa.) in a matchup of what are likely the conference's two best teams right now.

 

Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

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Crosby to miss All-Star Game; Forced to skip Tuesday game against Jets - 01-22-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins center Sidney Crosby will not play in the NHL's all-star game Sunday due to an undisclosed injury.

The team announced his injury tonight. Additionally, as a result of missing the All-Star game, the NHL will not permit Crosby to play in Tuesday's home game against the Winnipeg Jets.

In order to prevent players from skipping the all-star game, the NHL instituted rules in 2012 which dictate a player must miss his team's next game or be subject to a fine. Members of the Detroit Red Wings were suspended for a game after skipping that the 2009 All-Star Game as well as the accompanying festivities due to injuries.

According to a press release from the team, Crosby has been playing with an injury and will need “about a week to heal.”

Crosby had 23:06 of ice time on 28 shifts in Wednesday's 3-2 home shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

During his 10-season career, Crosby has only played in one All-Star Game (2007). He has missed four due to injuries. The 2013 game was canceled due to the NHL's lockout. There were no games in 2006, 2010 and 2014 due to the league's participation in the Olympics.

In addition to Crosby, Penguins center Evgeni Malkin will skip the All-Star Game as well. After he missed Wednesday's game due to an undisclosed injury, general manager Jim Rutherford said today he would miss the game. His availability for Tuesday's game is not certain.

Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, named as an injury replacement Jan. 15, will be the team's only player in the All-Star Game at Columbus.

---

EN Says: Regardless of the validity of Crosby's injury, him getting a few days off from the meat grinder that is the NHL regular season is probably a great value to him, even if it means he'll have to miss Tuesday's game against the Jets.

As far as the rule calling for him to skip a regular season game, what an embarrassment for the NHL.

The All-Star Game is important to the NHL in that it serves as a weekend-long meet-and-great for a lot of people. For the league, it's a chance to get its superstars to press the flesh with league sponsors. In order to ensure that, the league has taken this ridiculous step of essentially suspending a player one regular season game for skipping the All-Star Game in order to rest his body and mind.

Forget all the whimsical malarkey about this being a celebration of the game. For the NHL, this is a celebration of the check a terrible beer company in Colorado cuts for them every season.

So to the NHL, making sure Sidney Crosby can shake hands with an ad executive with Honda, Geico, Coors or any of the other corporate behemoths which serve as primary sponsors of he league is far more important than the $100 you have already paid to see Crosby in person next week against the Jets.

Andrew Ebbett will have to suffice.

If this game was truly important, why has the NHL essentially canceled six of them in the past 20 years due to lockout or Olympic participation.

In the grand scheme of things, a Penguins-Jets game in late January doesn't mean a whole lot. But it definitely mean a whole lot more than a weekend of corporate jock sniffing.

(Photo: Getty Images)

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Elijah Minnie back from suspension, will play vs. Mount St. Mary's

Written by Craig Meyer on .

EMMITSBURG, MD. -- Freshman forward Elijah Minnie is in uniform and will play Thursday for Robert Morris against Mount St. Mary's, ending a two-game suspension, a team spokesman confirmed.

The Lincoln Park graduate had missed each of the Colonials past two games, against St. Francis (N.Y.) and Sacred Heart, serving a suspension for what was termed a "violation of team rules."

Minnie's return is a welcome one for a Robert Morris team that has won three of its past four games. Prior to his suspension, Minnie was averaging 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, numbers that belied a recent four-game stretch in which he scored in double figures twice.

 

Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

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