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Pens Points: Ride the Wild Wind

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Good morning one and all,

Trying to find the right words for how well Sidney Crosby is playing right now isn't easy. With four key forwards out of the lineup with injuries (Malkin, Fehr, Bennett, Bonino) he has taken his effort and game to another level.

There are literally 500 articles this morning all saying the exact same thing using different superlatives, but I chose this one because it has a little sidebar with 5 Hart Trophy candidates and trust me this is going to change. [National Post]

The Hagelin-for-Perron trade seems to have early benefits for both teams. Hagelin's speed has really been a fantastic fit for Phil Kessel, and even without Malkin those two can really fly together. [Trib]

*A really good article talking about structured creativity on the power play and using the Pens as a case study. Excellent read. [NHL Special Teams]

While complaining that Simmonds got no discipline for the scuffle that led to McDonagh's concussion, funny guy Alain Vigneault has the gall to say "What does the NHL do if that's Crosby?" Absolutely nothing, in fact. Meanwhile, in the equipment room Marc Staal is wrapping his sticks in barbed wire getting them ready for Sid's head and neck appointment tomorrow. [CBS Sports]

Speaking of the Rangers, they went through a lull but are playing pretty well of late. Excellent forechecking and solid Lundqvist is what we can expect tomorrow. [NBC Sports]

*Milan Lucic returns to Boston for the first time as a member of the LA Kings. He pens a fantastic tribute to Boston and his time there. Absolutely worth a read. [The Players' Tribune]

*Incredible story shared by an Uber driver about the generosity of Scott Darling that changed one man's life. [The Score]

It's ugly up in Canada, with no Canadian teams currently in a playoff position. That and rankings of top SC favorites and Auston Mathews contenders. [Down Goes Brown]

Speaking of the draft, here is the mid-season ranking of Top 30 prospects by the great Bob McKenzie. [TSN]

The Jets signed defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to a 5-year contract extension worth $38M with a cap hit of $7.6M. This is a good contract for both player and a team. High AAV, but a very decent term. [AP]

Okay, so what does this mean for Andrew Ladd? Jets GM is not declaring anything specific, but the thinking was always that one of the two will continue his career elsewhere. [TSN]

This is really important to be aware of. A new study published yesterday in Canadian Medical Association Journal found that concussions increase risk of suicide three-fold. [Globe & Mail]

A great day to remember - today marks the 50th anniversary of the NHL expanding from 6 to 12 teams. One of the six, of course, your Pittsburgh Penguins, who unveiled a new logo for the occasion. [Penguins]

*Recommended reads