Penguins release D Sergei Gonchar; rookie Daniel Sprong makes club

PITTSBURGH -- Veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar's bid to make the Pittsburgh Penguins is over.

The team released the 41-year-old Gonchar on Saturday while trimming its roster to 25 players ahead of the season opener next week in Dallas. The four-time All-Star was attempting to make a successful return to Pittsburgh, where he played from 2005 to '10 while helping the franchise to the 2009 Stanley Cup.

While Gonchar is gone, rookie forward Daniel Sprong will stick around. The second-round pick in the June draft had three goals during the preseason. The 18-year-old Sprong can play nine games with the Penguins before his entry-level contract kicks in.

Forward Bobby Farnham also survived the final round of cuts. Farnham played 11 games with Pittsburgh last season. He did not score a point but provided a jolt to the fourth line with his physical play.