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Pens Points Tuesday: Timing of Bennett's Return Puts Pens in a Bind

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Mid-season stats and numbers, including advanced goaltending stats. Bennett's injury and timing of return will make big decisions difficult. Hart watch has begun.

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

From Dave Molinari, the medical news on the Pens is largely positive, for a change. Megna, Martin and Ebbett are all nearing a return, possibly even as soon as this week.

Due to a break in the schedule giving them only one game until January 20, the reinforcements will be back for the mad stretch before Sochi.

Beau Bennett is still 4 weeks away, putting the Pens in the holding pattern. He won't be back in another 4 weeks, and the team plays only 3 games post-Olympics and before the trade deadline.

Which pending UFA defenseman should the Pens focus on retaining: Matt Niskanen or Brooks Orpik?

The guys went bowling for charity last night, in their annual Pens & Pins event. Nice to see the guys get a little break doing something fun with the fans.

It's mid season, so there will be a lot of numbers coming your way. Here is the goal assessment from The Pens Nation through the first 47 games. I've linked to this before, but here it is again: the Pens line usage chart. Also, let's review Fleury's advanced stats.

Will the Pens make any splashes at the trade deadline? An interesting read from The Globe & Mail, and some more thoughts on the potential trade targets.

Here are all the NHL scores and stats from last night. Apparently that Canucks-Kings game was kind of wild and dumb. The Kings shut them out, and there might even be a suspension for Weise.

Sens' GM Bryan Murray gets a 2-year extension. Paul Maurice has a triumphant debut for the Jets, so everything is fixed now, right? The Flames finally won, but Cammalleri is sidelined with a concussion. Steven Stamkos is skating, but putting torque on his leg is still a problem.

Some conversation fodder, for the end. The Hockey News has Ryan Getzlaf in the lead in the Hart Trophy watch. Getz has been great, and the Ducks are flying high. But come on now, seriously. Sid's performance this season is in the dictionary next to the word Hart. In their last 22 games, played with half the WBS roster, the Pens are 18-3-1. That's a credit to the coaching staff, for sure. However, without Sid leading the charge... no, I don't even want to think about it.