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Pens Points: Malkin 50/50 for Opener

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Geno declares Neal trade was a surprise. Olli Maatta expects to fight for playing time. Brodeur OK with retirement.

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning one and all,

We're a day away from the Pens season opener, and Geno practiced and talked! He's here and he's alive, and those are the two most important things. He estimates there's a 50/50 chance he could suit up tomorrow night.

While we're on Geno, he admits the Neal trade came as a surprise to him. He read about it in the paper and Neal texted him throughout the summer admitting he had no idea why it happened.

Anyway, that's water under the bridge now. Tomorrow is a new year, and here are Dave Molinari's Penguins 2014-15 player capsules - basically the skinny and outlook for each player on the roster.

A look for what the plan is for the Pens special teams as they look to stay at or near the top in both categories.

Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts column has a few good nuggets about the Penguins and systemic changes we can expect to see this year.

The team made some interesting roster moves yesterday, and this excellent article from Mike Colligan is a superb primer on these temporary roster moves and how the Pens used them before

Olli Maatta is a second-year player now, and he outlines how his outlook is different this time around and that he still expects to compete for playing time.

The Pensblog has a multi-part Pens season preview going. Here are all the parts thus far: Part I (The Regime); Part II (Coaches); Part III (Goalies); Part IV (Defense).

The Mike Colligan roster move article and the Pensblog previews are today's must-reads, but if you have some more time on your hands in the next few days, do read Katie Baker's fantastic article on the San Jose Sharks, From the Jaws of Victory.

Former Pen Dougie Murray is currently a free agent. He had chances to sign a PTO but he declined, because he's no fan of those. In theory there could still be work for him back in Europe.

Well Jordin Tootoo got a contract out of a PTO, having signed with the Devils for 1 year, $550,000.

Marty Brodeur says he'd like an opportunity to help a team, but is OK with retirement.

The NHL and the on-ice officials have a new 5-year agreement in place.

And finally, some good news for US hockey viewers, as Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger join NBC Sports Group (while both still affiliated with TSN). McKenzie will be part of Wednesday Night Rivalry in-studio panel. Woo-hoo!