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Pens Points: Minnesota Game Day

Your daily look at Pittsburgh Penguins and NHL news and stories.

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Good morning one and all,

Minnesota game day is upon us, and here is your full game preview. Things in Minny are about as bleak as the weather. []

Derrick Pouliot was re-assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton yesterday, which obviously has more to do with getting him playing time than getting healthier on defense. [Trib]

Sadly, Olli Maatta's surgically repaired shoulder didn't respond to rehab and he looks to be shut down for the season. Heartbreaker for Olli, who's been through so much in this past year already. Lots of questions for Pens medical staff, though. [Trib]

This will likely present a further opportunity for Simon Despres to establish himself as a top-4 player. The coaching staff likes what they see in the Despres-Scuderi pairing, but should they get these guys new partners? They've been bad the last couple of games. [PPG]

Pens have done okay in the first half, all things considered, and are entering the second half in a solid, upright position. [PPG]

The team is looking to raise its level of play in the second half. They will have to: the Rangers are red-hot, the Caps as well, and the Isles have been good all season. The playoff are by no means a sure thing. [Trib]

The first challenge in the second half comes tonight in the shape of the battered Minnesota Wild, not so much battered by injuries as by continual losing despite decent play. The Pens are not looking over this opponent, though. They can still be very dangerous. [PPG]

Minnesota's main problem so far has been dismal goaltending. From our friends over at Hockey Wilderness, a chronicle of the goalie saga, and some thoughts on how to fix it. Read and discuss. [Hockey Wilderness]

The omission of Marc-Andre Fleury from the All Star game roster has some of the Pens players questioning the validity of the whole selection process. [Trib]

The season had hit it's mid-point, so naturally there are a lot of mid-season assessments. Who are the top 10 most disappointing players at this juncture? [The Hockey News]

Unpredictability has made for great drama, that's for sure. From the great Helene Elliott, here are the picks for mid-season awards. [LA Times]

Bruins Simon Gagne will not return to the team following the death of his father. [USA Today]