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Pens Points: On a Plane Headed West

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Pens head to Winnipeg to kick off long road trip in Western Canada. Letang and Rust will not make the trip. Schultz trade still paying dividends a year later.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With another day off the Penguins boarded a plane and headed west to Winnipeg where they will kick off a five game road trip against the Jets later this evening. Tonight’s game will be the launching pad for the team’s annual trip to Western Canada where they will face the Oilers, Canucks, and Flames before wrapping up the swing against the Flyers.

What seemed to be a minor injury setback for Kris Letang is now looking increasingly like a much larger issue for the star defenseman. The team announced Tuesday that Letang along with Bryan Rust will not be traveling with the team during the road trip. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Both Ron Hainsey and Mark Streit will be unrestricted free agents after this season, but for now both are just going to enjoy the ride as they chase their Stanley Cup dreams in Pittsburgh. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Just because the puck might not be going in for Carl Hagelin doesn’t mean he’s struggling. The forward is still driving play at an incredible rate along side Evgeni Malkin on the second line. [The Hockey Writers]

Since coming over from Edmonton prior to last season’s trade deadline Justin Schultz has been worth much more than the third round pick the Pens paid to acquire him. [Penguins]

Defending their championship will not be an easy task, but this Penguins’ team may be the best equipped team to do so in the last several years. [Pensburgh]

Dan Bylsma knows all about the pressures that come being behind the bench in Pittsburgh and is a very big fan of Mike Sullivan and the success he has had during his short stint in the position Bylsma once held. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

News and notes from around the NHL...

With NHL general managers in Florida for their annual meetings, Vegas Black Knights’ GM George McPhee is under the spotlight as rival GMs are looking for an insight on his expansion draft plans. [Sportsnet]

Of North America’s “Big Four” sports leagues, only the NHL uses a points based standings system to rank teams. Is it time for the league to scrap the points system altogether? [Puck Daddy]