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Sunday Pens Points: NHL Takes a Break

Last bit of news as the NHLers pack and fly off. Who's hot, who's not? Malkin, Jokinen, Maatta? Hot. Kunitz, Crosby? Medium. Orpik, Martin? Um, not really. Read the incredible story of Magnitogorsk's making of Malkin.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

As the NHL season comes to an Olympic-mandated halt, here's one more rendition of Pens Points to recount the latest news as NHL players are boarding the 4 charters bound for Sochi.

Their last game before the break ended in a somewhat disappointing SO loss to the Rangers. Meesh takes us through his thoughts and also which Pens' Olympians are hot and which ones are not going into Sochi. [The Pens Nation]

The Pens wrap up the bigger chunk of their season having earned 83 of possible 116 points. Dave Molinari takes stock of where the team is at the moment. [PPG]

With the league in hiatus, the standings are as crowded as ever. The Ducks still sit on top of the league with the Pens keeping pace, 4 points behind with two games in hand. [THN]

The game of the night was probably the Bruins 7-2 beatdown of the Sens. It's not a bad thing there's a break coming, so they can cool off a bit. [THN]

The Dallas Stars are probably unhappy there's a break just as they're catching fire too, all under the leadership of Jamie Benn. Well earned spot in Sochi. [THN]

Zolnierczyk, Megna and Gibbons were assigned to WB/S, and Harry Z stealthily cleared waivers in the process. If you had told me in September I'd worry about his being claimed off waivers, I'd have laughed. He was a solid contributor, so obviously this Shero guy must know things I don't. [PPG]

The story of Evgeni Malkin's departure from Russia has been told before. But in this incredible article, Brady McCollough evokes a time nearly a century ago, to beginnings of Magnitogorsk, and puts Geno's entire life and upbringing in that context. It's simply a MUST-READ. [PPG]

Helene Elliott looks at the retrospective of Sidney Crosby's last 4 years. In February 2010 Sid was on top of the world, reigning Stanley Cup champion and Canadian Olympic hero at just 22. The future couldn't be colored in a bright-enough hue, right? Well, life had other ideas, but Sid persevered doggedly to find himself back on top and leading the loaded Canadian squad back to the Olympics. [LA Times]

Everyone talks about Malkin, Datsyuk and Ovechkin leading the Russian contingent of NHLers to Sochi. Their KHL brethren awaits them there, having put in two-a-days for a while now. And one of them is Ilya Kovalchuk. [Toronto Star]

Unlike poor Lubo Visnovsky, forever imprisoned on Long Island, Pavel Datsyuk had the power to brush off any sideways glances by the Red Wings brass about, uh, maybe not going to Sochi. That doesn't mean he will play, though. Bilyaletdinov said he'd be evaluated once he gets there, and Burmistrov and Denisov are on stand-by, just in case. []

We'll cover all the Olympic hockey news over the next 2.5 weeks. We start with previewing Group A teams today. See you on the other side!