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Labor Day Links: Malkin shaping up

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Evgeni Malkin looks ready for a big season

NHL: APR 14 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round - Islanders at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Before returning to Pittsburgh Evgeni Malkin put the finishing touches on his off-season training. Puts a new spin on the “dad bod” phenomenon, especially on that second shot. Dare we say, per franchise tradition, “best shape of his career”?

Malkin is back in Pittsburgh now and already getting some work in with likely-linemate Alex Galchenyuk.

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Black and Yellow

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From around the league...

A look at the possible Rangers’ defensive pairs. Second pair of Marc Staal and a rookie? And this is a “much improved team”? Hmm... [Blueshirt Banter]

Applying outside the box thinking to improve. [All about the Jersey]

A look at the Flyers’ shooters from last year. [Broad St Hockey]

Substandard goaltending plagued the Hurricanes for many years. Is some regression about to do the same again this year? [Canes Country]

Phil Kessel is likely to hit some big milestones soon and it’ll be the Arizona fans getting a front row seat for them :( [Five For Howling]

The main NHL site takes a crack at the Metropolitan Division’s best team. The eight different writers chose five different teams, which really goes to show just how wide open the division will be. Mike Zeisberg has a great take though - [NHL.com]

At first blush, there is plenty to like about the Capitals, a season removed from a Stanley Cup title and with the core of the team intact. The Devils seem to be the up-and-coming flavor in the division with additions like P.K. Subban, Jack Hughes and Wayne Simmonds. Kaapo Kakko, Artemi Panarin and Jacob Trouba make the Rangers very intriguingThen I remembered something Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist told me at the NHL European Player Media Tour in Stockholm two weeks ago. “Sid is as focused as I’ve ever seen him,” he said of Crosby, adding the team will feed off the knowledge that some people are counting them out. One lesson we should have all learned long ago: Never count Sidney Crosby out. Never.

That will get you fired up on a Monday!