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Pens Points: The Final Countdown

Pens prepare to open season with second straight banner raising against Blues. Healthy Letang ready to return. Blue line takes shape but pairings still fluid. Hornqvist to miss opener and possibly more.

2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Happy Hockey Eve, everyone. A second straight Stanley Cup summer is just about in the books and we could not be happier. In less than 48 hours fans will be packed into PPG Paints Arena for the Penguins season opener and banner raising against the St. Louis Blues. The long wait is almost over, hockey is back.

Now, your final Pens Points of the offseason...

Wednesday night will only be the start of what is set to be a very, very busy month of hockey for the Penguins. 13 games on the schedule with 8 of those on the road means the Pens won’t have much time to shake any Stanley Cup hangover. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

In many ways, winning a third consecutive Stanley Cup championship will be even harder than going back-to-back. [Trib Live]

It has been over six months since the last time Kris Letang suited up and look the ice for the Penguins in game that mattered. In that time, Letang went under major neck surgery and was forced to watch his teammates win the Stanley Cup from the sidelines. [Penguins]

Over the preseason the Penguins seemed to found their ideal defensive pairings to being the season but don’t get used to it. The pairings you see on opening night are nowhere near set in stone. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

When the Penguins take the ice on Wednesday night they will have one big hole in the lineup. Stanley Cup hero Patric Hornqvist is not expected to play in the opener due to a lingering hand injury. The injury is not expected to be serious but it remains to be seen how the Pens will replace him. [NBC Sports]

Not that there has ever been any doubt but with back-to-back Stanley Cups, Penguins’ duo Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have officially cemented themselves as one of the great pairs in NHL history. [Trib Live]

News and notes from around the NHL...

Another summer of #JagrWatch has officially come to an end and just in the nick of time for the new season. On Tuesday, reports surfaced that Jagr has agreed to a one year deal with the Calgary Flames. [Sportsnet]

Just over a week before the city was set to host their first NHL regular season game, Las Vegas was struck with tragedy. The Vegas Golden Knights sent their condolences to the victims of the mass shooting that took place on Sunday night along the Vegas strip that claimed the lives of over 50 people. [NBC Sports]