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Pens Points: Geno Skates, Maatta Cleared for Contact

Geno skates and does skill drills. Niskanen KOs Skinner. Pens clear waivers, and Tangradi fetches two players in a trade.

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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning and happy Monday. It's only a maatta of (3) days until the Pens season kicks off! Here is your daily digest of news and laughs around the NHL.

First off, after an individual skate on Saturday, Geno Machino skated and took part in the skills drills with Pens defensemen yesterday before regular practice (forwards had their skills work on Saturday, and a little more about it is here). He seemed to show no obvious limitations, but still the impression is that he would probably miss the Thursday opener. Still, Geno is back on the ice and that's great news.

Olli Maatta was cleared for contact Saturday and was paired with Paul Martin in Sunday's practice, but his status for the opener is up to the doctors. The Pens defense for opening night is slowly taking shape, and Kris Letang looks to finally be that top defenseman we know he has the potential to be.

Taylor Chorney, improbably, still has a chance at making the opening day roster, and awaits his fate on the edge of his skates.

Jeff Zatkoff cleared waivers and was assigned to WBS Penguins. [Sill, Ebbett and Chorney also cleared but remained on the big league roster, for now.] Baby Pens released G Nolan Schaefer to make room for Zatman. A good read by Seth Rorabaugh from about 6 months ago about what the waiver experience is like for the players going through it, and his yesterday's post about Zatkoff's future with the Penguins.

Yesterday's friendly in DC between Caps and Canes was everything but friendly. There were exceptions taken to many things, but most importantly Carolina is now down another top 6 forward after Matt Niskanen of all people chicken-winged Jeff Skinner in the head to bad results. For his part, Niskanen claims Skinner "spun around into his elbow". I didn't like the hit one bit, though I'd like to give Nisky the benefit of the doubt. Is this suspendable, though? A side thought on the Caps: they are going to score and allow the most goals ever this season. Every game of theirs will be a 9-goal bonanza.

Bob McKenzie just posted an excerpt from his upcoming book "Hockey Confidential", a funny chapter on how Corsi really got its name. It does have to do with Jim Corsi, but the real story is funnier than the one we thought we knew.

WBS Penguins ended their preseason with some fireworks, losing to the Hershey Bears 6-1 in a game that featured combined 220 PIMs and saw Eric Hartzell go the distance with 25 saves on 31 shots.

We end with the Montreal Canadiens for all the laughs. First, earlier in the day yesterday Marc Bergevin sent Budaj and Holland to Winnipeg in exchange for one Eric Tangradi. Later on, PK Subban shared his novel method for annoying opponents around the crease and enticing them to move away.