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Pens Points: Hello, Western Canada

Start pounding down the coffee because it’s going to be a long night with the Penguins in Calgary to face the Flames. Find all your latest team news packed inside today’s Pens Points.

Calgary Flames v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

Hopefully everyone stocked up on coffee over the weekend because there are a few lates nights ahead for Penguins fans with the team making its annual swing through Western Canada. Late night action begins tonight against the Calgary Flames before jetting off to Edmonton and Vancouver to wrap up the pre-Christmas schedule on Friday and Saturday.

Puck drop is set for 9:00 PM and will be broadcast on AT&T Sports Network.

Long night ahead, rest up and catch up with Pens Points...

First the injury bug and now the flu bug has seemingly infiltrated the Penguins locker room. Bryan Rust joins an ever growing list of players out with an illness, but on the bright side, Sidney Crosby is skating but still no timetable for return. [Pensburgh]

It’s no secret the Jack Johnson signing was widely panned when the deal was announced and rightfully so given his history. That said, there has been a noticeable improvement in play from Johnson this season, a huge plus for the Penguins. [Pensburgh]

With 2020 on the horizon, it’s time to start wrapping up the past decade and highlight the biggest moments of the past 10 years. Here at Pensburgh, we are counting down the 10 best Penguins players of the last 10 years, starting with Pascal Dupuis. [Pensburgh]

Say whatever you want about Penguins fans being bandwagons or fair weather fans, but there is no doubt we are some of the best in the league. It seems Forbes agrees with that sentiment, rankings Pens fans No. 1 in the NHL. [Penguins]

Selected by the Penguins in the first round of the 2011 NHL Draft, Joe Morrow could have been a stalwart on the Penguins blue line for years to come but he never played a game in Pittsburgh. Now, the former first round pick is headed to the KHL. [Trib Live]

With Tristan Jarry on the rise and Matt Murray relegated to backup duty, there is an interesting situation developing in Pittsburgh. Both are set to become restricted free agents this offseason, meaning the Penguins will have a decision to make. [The Hockey News]

News and notes from around the NHL...

Some fresh faces make up this week’s NHL “3 Stars of the Week” led by Max Pacioretty of the Vegas Golden Knights. Being recognized alongside Pacioretty are Anthony Duclair of the Senators and Jack Eichel of the Sabres. [NHL]

Ilya Kovalchuk returned to the NHL last season but his comeback continues to spiral downward. Listed as a healthy scratch since November 9th, Kovalchuk will have his contract terminated by the Kings and be placed on unconditional waivers. [Jewels of the Crown]

Tim Thomas left the game of hockey in 2014 and seemingly fell off the face of the Earth after walking away. Recently resurfacing to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, Thomas’ story is a stark reminder of the dark side of the game we all love. [ESPN]

The Chicago Blackhawks concluded an investigation into allegations of abuse against assistant coach Marc Crawford and announced Crawford will remains suspended until January 2nd. In his own statement, Crawford apologized for his actions. [Blackhawks]