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Pens Points: All eyes on Guentzel and Sprong

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Penguins get Monday off following weekend doubleheader of preseason action. Big season upcoming for Guentzel and Sprong but for different reasons. Brassard feeling comfortable and ready to make an impact. Penguins chirp Flyers on social media over bizarre new mascot.

NHL: Preseason-Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

A weekend doubleheader meant the Pens had Monday off from practice but they will be back on the ice today with practice at the UPMC Lemieux in Cranberry. Preseason play resumes on Wednesday with the Buffalo Sabres in town for the final home game before everything counts for real next Thursday.

Begin your day with a heaping helping of Pens Points...

This is a contract year for Jake Guentzel and even though he will likely be a Penguin for years to come, his performance this season will determine just how costly it will be to keep the young goal scorer in a Penguins uniform. [Pensburgh]

Another player whose future with the Penguins will be determined by his on-ice performance this season is Daniel Sprong. Similar to Guentzel, Sprong’s goal scoring ability will be the key to cementing his spot with the team for the long haul. From what we have seen in training camp to this point, it appears Sprong will be playing alongside Sidney Crosby and Guentzel on the top line. [Trib Live]

Sticking with Sprong, the young winger traveled to Montreal over the summer to train with Penguins’ defenseman Kris Letang. Letang has a reputation as one of the fittest players in the NHL and his workout regime is legendary. Training with Letang taught Sprong a few valuable lessons about taking care of his body and helped form a close friendship with the blue liner. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Derick Brassard was a huge acquisition for the Penguins last season but he never made the impact that most had hoped he would. Hampered by a serious groin injury through the playoffs, Brassard never fully meshed with his new teammates but there was a lot more going on behind the scenes that fans didn’t see. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

In case you were not around social media on Monday morning you may have missed the reveal of the Flyers’ new mascot, Gritty. You can see the full reveal here if you wish to subject yourself to such horrors. The reveal was rightfully panned by the internet and included even the Penguins twitter account getting in on the action. [Trib Live]

Sunday’s preseason game against the Red Wings served as the annual “Kids Game” where the team provides free tickets to kids and youth hockey teams from around the area. As is the case anytime you put a large amount of children in a confined space, things got a little raucous in the stands. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Never doubt just how serious sports fandom can be as this local couple is proving. Donald Dopkowski and Brittany Dahlmann of Hempfield are taking their fandom to the next level with a Penguins themed wedding this October. Both die-hard Penguins fans, their wedding will include multiple nods to their favorite team including a jersey for guests to sign. [Trib Live]

As long as the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel are in Pittsburgh, the Penguins are going to have a pretty strong top-6 up front. Even with those big name players on the roster, how does the Penguins front-6 compare to others around the league. [TSN]

We already know Daniel Sprong will be starting the season with the big club, but that doesn’t mean he will be the only young gun playing for the Penguins this season. Here are five guys that could continue the Penguins run of finding success in youth. [Trib Live]

News and notes from around the NHL...

Sixteen year veteran and former Stanley Cup champion Brian Gionta announced his retirement from hockey on Monday. Gionta was a former captain of the Montreal Canadiens and won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2003. Gionta announced he will be taking a job in the Buffalo Sabres organization now that his career is over. [NHL.com]

Every year, the NHL releases a survey where players from around the league give their thoughts on different issues surrounding the league. One big result coming out of this year’s survey dealt with the concussion. Of the players surveyed during the NHL Media Tour earlier in the month, a large portion say they have moderate to serious concerns about concussions in hockey. [USA Today]

Hockey in Seattle is one step closer following the approval of a $700 million renovation project for KeyArena, where the Seattle franchise will play its home games. The entire renovation project is expected to be privately funded. [Toronto Sun]