Pens Points Wednesday: Preseason Concludes Tonight

Jonathan Daniel

Your daily source for Pens and NHL news. Preseason injuries are mounting. Pens roster is trimmed some more, and some key decisions still remain. Glen Sather is putting on a clinic on how not to negotiate with your stud young center. Barry Melrose gets a much needed makeover. And if you thought you had problems, read Jake Dowell's story.

Good morning everyone. Six days until the puck drops.

Today is the Pens' last preseason game, and the whole motley crew is going to Detroit. I wish they weren't, because the injuries league-wide are mounting: Sam Gagner, Viktor Stalberg, Jakub Voracek... I don't care if we lose 10-0 as long as no one else gets injured. No word yet on Matt D'Agostini other than day-to-day. Then they only have to survive West Point and they'll be out of the woods.

Two more guys were cut from camp yesterday (Kuhnhackl and Ruopp were assigned to WBS), and the rest of the roster decisions will very much be guided by the salary cap situation.

The disciplinary fallout from the Toronto-Buffalo melee continued on Tuesday, with Phil Kessel getting off easy, suspended for the remainder of the preseason (a whopping 3 important games). David Clarkson got the automatic 10, which the PA initially said they might appeal (making him eligible to play while the appeal process was ongoing), although later realized the futility of it and dropped it. He is eligible to play the rest of the preseason, though. Sabres coach Rolston was fined, and nothing for John Scott, which is also kind of a punishment for Buffalo, come to think of it.

Lost in the hoopla of the renewed enforcer debate was the fact that the New York Rangers GM Glen Sather has apparently decided to go as Uncle Scrooge for Halloween but thinks he must also act the part. The ongoing contract negotiations with RFA center Derek Stepan aren't going well, although the two sides are reportedly a measly $600K apart - NYR offered 2 years at $2.5-2.7M per year. Sather went on MSG Network to publicly declare "it is unfortunate that Stepan has decided to listen to his agent" and that "he's not a fool who will sit out and hurt his career". Derek Stepan is a young stud, Scroogie. Let me spell out for you what the rest of the league is thinking right about now: O-F-F-E-R S-H-E-E-T.

And if the state of Derek Stepan's contract negotiations aren't enough to depress Rangers fans, looks like the terms of Henrik Lundqvist's contract might be a problem as well. He also said he wants to focus on hockey once the season starts and that he won't be talking contract then, so either they get it done now or wait until after the season. Hank is one of those rare people who are both beautiful AND smart, and he's basically waiting to see what the new-look Rangers are going to be like. If Vigneault can breathe new life into that offense, they will be a powerful and dangerous team, and the best goalie in the league will stay put. If no, he can basically pick his next team.

You thought I was done with Lundqvist for today, didn't you? Wrong. But here he's doing a very good deed, because we all know Barry Melrose needs a makeover more than anyone alive on Earth, so Hank sprinkles a tiny bit of his magic dust on him. He's still Barry Melrose at the end, sadly. Didn't work.

The other day I shared a very uplifting story on cancer survivor Chris Kushneriuk, but this one is the ultimate downer. Read the sad story of Minnesota Wild forward Jake Dowell and his family's tragic battle against Huntington's disease. His father and brother are dying from it, and he himself will soon get tested to find out if he carries the same gene (it's a 50/50 chance). It was on ESPN's E:60 last night and it was absolutely harrowing.

Talk on the thread tonight.

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