**wipes away dust**
Hello? Is this thing on? Anyone there?
Good morning, everyone and welcome back to your daily edition of Pens Points, a feature that runs every morning on Monday through Friday right here on Pensburgh. If you’re a regular reader of the site, then you know the drill. But if you’re new to our community, then consider this a welcome aboard.
Pens Points will serve as your early morning kick start highlighting the latest news and notes from the Penguins and the NHL as a whole. Once again, Robbie and Garrett will be running the show, aggregating the latest Penguins news into one place for your viewing pleasure. Feel free to reach out to them with tips and/or suggestions on how Pens Points can be improved to best fit the readers’ needs, or to send praise on a job well done. At this time, criticism of their work is not being accepted.
It was a long summer without Penguins hockey, but we all made it through, and a new season is upon us. The players are back in Pittsburgh, and training camp is in full swing. Preseason hockey begins tonight with the Penguins in Buffalo to take on the Sabres, and the regular season is a little over two weeks away.
Though summer is winding down, we are happy to be back writing about hockey on a daily basis. We are also certainly glad to have all of our readers back, and we hope to provide you with some great Penguins content all season long. Here’s to a great 2018-19 season!
Now, for your first Pens Points of the new season...
Preseason play begins later this evening in Buffalo against the Sabres. On Monday, the team announced its lineup for the contest with a few notable names making the trip north. Jake Guentzel and Olli Maatta stick out as the only real veterans on the roster, but young guys like Daniel Sprong and Zach Aston-Reese will be looking to make a good impression for the coaches. [Pensburgh]
Another name you will see in Buffalo tonight is defenseman Jusso Riikola, who will be making his Penguins debut after signing with the team in the offseason. Early reports from training camp suggest the new acquired blueliner has been making quite an impact on both coaches and teammates. [Penguins]
One of the few roster battles taking place during this training camp for the Penguins is the fight between Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith for the backup goaltending job. Both will see playing time in Buffalo, giving each a chance to make an early impression on the coaching staff. [Trib Live]
Jack Johnson will have a lot to prove with the Penguins this season to justify the contract he received from the team on July 1. Johnson enters training camp as the marquee addition to the lineup over the offseason, and so far he seems to be fitting in well with his new teammates. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
Day 4 of Penguins’ training featured an intrasquad scrimmage between the three practice groups that make up the current camp roster. Team 2 (Evgeni Malkin) defeated Team 1 (Sidney Crosby) in a shootout to move onto the championship game against Team 3 (Kris Letang). In the end, it was Team 3 coming away with the victory, courtesy of a Matt Cullen shootout winner. [Penguins]
Malkin even had a bit of fun with Crosby during their shootout attempts today:
Malkin screws with Crosby before penalty shot. Good stuff. pic.twitter.com/R4i0ki62th— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_PGH) September 17, 2018
Speaking of Matt Cullen, the ageless wonder is back with the Penguins after one season with the Minnesota Wild. Now 41, Cullen continues to defy his age and hopes to make his second stint with the Penguins as successful as his first. [Trib Live]
Head coach Mike Sullivan continues his leave of absence from the team in the wake of his father’s death over the weekend. While Sullivan is away, assistant coach Jacques Martin has taken over the reigns as “head coach” to lead the team as they continue to prepare for the new season. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
It’s not every day you get Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel holding court with the media. It is even rarer for both of them to conduct interviews on the same day. After practice on Sunday, both Kessel and Malkin spoke to the media at length for this first time since the end of last season. [Pensburgh]
During the Penguins early run of success in 2008 and 2009, they ran into a powerhouse Detroit Red Wings squad in the Stanley Cup Final both years. A mainstay on those Red Wings’ teams was center Henrik Zetterberg, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2008. With Zetterberg announcing the end to his playing career, Sidney Crosby reflected back on his own personal rivalry with the Swede. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
News and notes from around the NHL...
Expect a lot of discussion about NHL expansion to Seattle this season with a potential vote on awarding the city a team some time soon. On Monday, the city of Seattle formally approved major renovations to KeyArena, where the prospective team would play its home games. [WDEF]
Chances are you already know that Erik Karlsson has been traded to the San Jose Sharks from the Ottawa Senators. With Karlsson now on the team, the Sharks are looking to make his stay on the West Coast a little more permanent with an eight year contract extension. [Sporting News]
Aleksander Barkov has been named the 10th captain in Florida Panthers history the team announced on Monday. Barkov takes over the “C” from fellow teammate Derek MacKenzie, who willingly stepped down to make room for the young Finnish forward. With the “C” now officially on his jersey, Barkov becomes the second youngest captain the NHL behind Connor McDavid. [USA Today]
We’re one year away from a very important deadline for the NHL. If a new labor deal is not struck between the NHL owners and the NHL Player Association by this time next year, we could be facing yet another lockout. [Trib Live]
As training camps being to kick into full gear around the league, there are several big name restricted free agents still without new contracts. From Toronto to Las Vegas, players are missing out on crucial training time with teammates while contract talks remain at an impasse. [NBCSports]