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Pens Points: Heading West

Pens travel west for annual California swing beginning Wednesday in Anaheim. Bandwagon open as Steelers fall and Pirates sell off pieces. Crosby making more magic with “kids” on top line. Murray still listed as out but plans to travel west with team.

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images

Another off day for the Penguins as they prepare to head west for their annual California road swing that kicks off Wednesday night in Anaheim.

Now, pour your morning coffee and enjoy this Tuesday edition of Pens Points...

Another week, another “Star of the Week” for the Penguins. Like Sidney Crosby a week ago, forward Phil Kessel was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week for his play during the last week. [Pensburgh]

Overall, this was not a good weekend for Pittsburgh sports. Between the Steelers loss on Sunday and the Pirates trading away key pieces of their franchise, it was only the Penguins who gave the city any hope for its sports teams with a weekend sweep of the Red Wings and Rangers. If you’re looking to hop on the Penguins bandwagon, now is a pretty good time to buy your ticket. [Trib Live]

It looks like Sidney Crosby may have found his newest set of “kids” to play alongside him on the top line. Daniel Sprong and Dominik Simon have fixated themselves along Crosby and brought the play to prove they belong. It’s no accident Crosby produces best with youngsters playing on his wings. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Following up on their terrific Kevin Stevens piece over the weekend, Sportsnet produced another excellent piece on Penguins’ assistant coach and Hall of Famer Mark Recchi:

Over a decade in the league, three Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals, and about every individual award a player can win, Sidney Crosby still remains one of the most hated figures in the NHL among opposing fans. [The Hockey Writers]

Matt Murray remained out of the lineup over the weekend as he dealt with a family issue back in Canada, but the Penguins expect the young goaltender to travel with the team on their California road swing this week. [Trib Live]

Every year when the All-Star teams are announced there are undoubtedly snubs who had a strong case to make the even. This year’s most glaring omission is Phil Kessel, who leads the Penguins in every offensive category and has more than earned a spot with his play this season. [The Hockey Writers]

News and notes from around the NHL...

Don’t look now but the NHL trade deadline is rapidly approaching and the “buyers” and “sellers” are beginning to take shape. [ESPN]

With all the NHL teams now past the halfway point of their season, it’s a good time to sit down and pick the midseason award winners and reflect on how those picks have changed since the puck dropped in October. [Winging it in Motown]