Expect another emotional night at PPG Paints Arena this evening when the Penguins welcome Matt Cullen back to town as a member of the Minnesota Wild. Cullen became a fan favorite during his two seasons in Pittsburgh where he was a key player on two Stanley Cup winning teams. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM and will be broadcast on AT&T Sports Network.
Now presenting, your Thursday morning edition of Pens Points...
Early Wednesday evening, the Penguins announced they had reassigned goaltender Tristan Jarry to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL. With the impending return of Matt Murray to the lineup, one goalie was going to be sent down and for now it is Jarry. Casey DeSmith will remain with the team as the backup. [Penguins]
With three straight starts in goal and a 2-1-0 record to go along with it, Casey DeSmith is taking advantage of his opportunity and enjoying his time as “the guy” for the Penguins in the absence of Matt Murray. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
Reminiscent of the 2015-2016 where the Penguins got off to a rocky start, the new year has arrived and with it a sense of urgency for the team to start winning games so they can qualify for another shot at the Stanley Cup. [Trib Live]
With ten games under their belt since the beginning of the new year, the Penguins strong play has pushed their playoff chances in the right direction heading into the final third of the season but there is still plenty of work to do. [Pensburgh]
Being a healthy scratch even once can mess with a player’s psyche let alone being a scratch night in and night out all the while wondering what your future with your team may hold. This has been the case for Ian Cole for most of the season to this point but luckily he has the full support of his teammates at his back. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
Tonight’s game against the Wild marks the return of fan favorite Matt Cullen to Pittsburgh for the first time since he signed with Minnesota during the offseason. You can expect a video tribute to honor the veteran Cullen who won two Stanley Cups in his two seasons with the team. [The Athletic]
Since coming over from the Dallas Stars in a trade, it looks like the Penguins have found another diamond in the rough in Jamie Oleksiak. Given his success so far in Pittsburgh, it begs the question of why he could never find his game in Dallas. [Dallas News]
News and notes from around the NHL...
Already the most successful expansion team in NHL history, the Vegas Golden Knights are on the fast track to the Stanley Cup playoffs and maybe even more in their first season of play. They are the polar opposite of the expansion Washington Capitals, considered by many to be the worst team in league history. [USA Today]
John Cooper, head coach of the league leading Tampa Bay Lightning, is undoubtedly one of the most interesting men in hockey. A former public defender, Cooper rose through the coaching ranks and has the Lightning poised for another run at the Stanley Cup. [ESPN]