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Singer Yanni says he empathizes with Penguins and Capitals over scheduling

WASHINGTON - Yanni is singing a song of empathy for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

The pop singer issued a statement Saturday reflecting his role in the scheduling of the teams' playoff series. Yanni's concert at the Penguins' Mellon Arena on Tuesday night is the reason the NHL put Game 4 on Friday in Pittsburgh and Game 5 in Washington on Saturday - a back-to-back scenario that neither team likes.

Yanni didn't express apologies or regrets. He instead cited his experience "as a former national champion swimmer" for native country Greece.

"I empathize with the athletes competing in the NHL playoffs and understand the pressures under which they perform," the statement said.

Early in the series, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said it was "a shame" that the teams were forced to play back-to-back games, calling it "bad for the league, both fan bases and for the players."

For his part, Yanni thanked all involved - particularly the Mellon Arena - for "recognizing the importance of presenting the highest quality sports and entertainment to the fans of the city of Pittsburgh."

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