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Penguins Report: Training Camp Opens

Friday, 09.17.2010 / 8:00 AM / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
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Penguins Report: Training Camp Opens
"It's a great day for hockey." - "Badger" Bob Johnson

Those famous words of legendary Penguins coach "Badger" Bob ring true once again as the 2010 Pittsburgh Penguins training camp officially began Friday morning.

The players reported for duty at CONSOL (pronounced kun-SAHL, like in consolidated) Energy Center at the crack of dawn to undergo medical evaluations and fitness testing. There will be 57 attendees this season, fighting for a spot on Pittsburgh's roster.

( Click here to download the full training camp roster - PDF)

The Penguins will take the ice for the first-ever practice at CONSOL Energy Center Saturday morning. In fact, the team's Saturday and Sunday practices are open to the public and free of charge. So get down here and take a look at the new team and new building.

Jason Seidling has an in-depth preview of the upcoming camp/season. He has narrowed in on 10 intriguing storylines to keep an eye on throughout camp and the year:

1. The new beefed up defense with Michalek and Martin
2. Possible replacement for Guerin to play wing with Sid
3. Replacing free agent departure Gonchar
4. Opening the season without Staal
5. On establishing a home-ice advantage at CONSOL Energy Center
6. Possible new alternate captain
7. Rested and rejuvinated team
8. Fleury's upcoming campaign
9. Winter Classic
10. Rebounds and Encores

Follow our day-long blog, as we cover the team's first day of camp!!!
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3:43 PM:
That's a wrap for the day. Training camp has officially begun! The team hits the ice for the first time Saturday at 9 a.m. at CONSOL Energy Center. Come join us as the team's Saturday and Sunday practice are free and open to the public.

I can't wait for the big show to get going. As Leroy Jenkins once said, "Let's do this!"
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2:56 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room III:


Sidney Crosby

On demolishing the Igloo:
It’s a little bit of mixed emotions. Obviously I have a lot of great memories there, but it’s obviously something that needs to be done so I don’t think that changes anything. We all have great memories. I know I enjoyed my time there.
On Evgeni Malkin’s critics last year:
I didn’t really read or hear them a lot, but I guess that’s what comes with being in that position. You’re watched pretty constantly and that’s the way it is, good or bad. I think that’s to be expected with the position that he’s in, and I’m sure he accepts that. And I’m sure he has high expectations of himself, so I don’t think it really matters if they’re fair or not. All that really matters is if he’s happy and comfortable and confident with the way he plays, and as long as he is that’s the main thing. But I don’t think anyone here pays too much attention to that.
On who will be on his line:
I don’t think that’s a big deal. You want chemistry, for sure, with any combinations, but it’s pretty common to see things juggle up, and I would expect that during camp and to start the season. If we start off with four lines that are rolling well, then that’s always great, but you always expect it to be juggled around a bit.
On the locker room:
It’s a little bigger than we’re used to but I’ll get used to it. It’s a pretty amazing room and they’ve done a great job. It’s going to be a lot of fun to be here. There’s a lot of details and even just having some of the alumni up here, I think that’s a nice touch. For a brand new building it feels pretty homey right away.
On Mike Comrie:
He brings some experience and some skill. He’s really nifty with the puck and he’s smart. He’s not the biggest guy, but he’s got a lot of skill. That’s his strength. He’s not going to run around and be physical, that’s not really his game. But he’s going to make some plays and do good things offensively. He’s going to be a great acquisition for us.
On Staal’s injury:
It’s nothing we want to see, but we’re going to have to deal with it, and he’s a big part of our team. But we hope he heals up quickly and he’s back as soon as possible. But that’s what you deal with sometimes. Hopefully he heals up quickly and it’s something we won’t have to worry about.


Kris Letang

On his goals for this year:
To improve my game overall and to play with confidence and bring the game that I was able to bring in the playoffs.
On criticism of last year’s defense:
We want to prove that we’re a good defensive team, and it was always our defense that was criticized. We lost (Sergei) Gonchar so people thought we were going to be even worse. But we have a good group and we’re very mobile back there, and we have to prove a lot. We had a good part of the year where we were playing well, and some others were a little more difficult.
On Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek:
We’re more all-around a defensive squad now. Those guys can bring the puck around well and that can help us out on both ends of the ice.
On quarterbacking the power play:
If they give me the opportunity I will, but we don’t know anything right now. I had a strong playoff last year and I think I should build off that right from the start.


Matt Cooke

On preparing to play without Staal:
You prepare yourself to play every year differently. Obviously, it’s pretty easy to play with Jordan and I got used to that, but unfortunately he’s not going to be able to start the season with us. I’m just going to have to connect with my linemates whoever they may be, and do the best we can.
On Staal’s injury:
It sucks. How do you replace a guy that’s 6-5 and plays 20 minutes a game and kills all your penalties. It’s hard to do but, I think that if anybody, our group in here can do it and it’s a good test of adversity early on. And it will make us stronger when he comes back.
On the rule changes about hits to the head:
I think it clarifies the way the rule was before, which is a good thing. Any time you can add clarification with a rule, it helps. And I’m sure we’ll look at video with the league so that we’re all on the same page so that we’re all totally clear. The rule, before, didn’t put the responsibility on the hitter, and now the responsibility is more on the hitter, and I’m good with that.
It’s only one scenario that it affects, I can still dump the puck in and hit a defenseman into the boards. Back when they changed the rule about hitting from behind and being responsible on icing, those happened and didn’t affect the physical play. I think that just helps protect everybody on the ice. 

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2:08 PM:
Here are some videos from Friday's locker room sessions.


Head Coach Dan Bylsma

Captain Sidney Crosby


Kris Letang


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1:25 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room II:

Max Talbot

On demolishing the Igloo:
I was there for five years and the Penguins have been there forever. So obviously it's going to be emotional in the city and especially for Penguins fans that have been there for a while. But it was a decision that I think was probably the right thing to do.
On being healthy to start camp:
It feels great, it feels unbelievable actually. I haven’t been that healthy for nine years and everything’s 100 percent and I’m ready to go. It’s been tough last year and I’m looking forward to this year.
On Staal's injuring impacting his preparations:
No, it doesn’t impact how I prepare, but I had a great summer of training, but now that we know Jordan is going to be out for a little while, obviously guys try to think about different things. But preparations wise, it’s the same things. You just go out there and try to do your best. Go out there and battle for spots.
On becoming teammates with former enemies:
The whole NHL is a big family. And obviously when you’re going to go play against Philly, or Washington or Montreal, there’s hate and you want to beat those teams. But once you get a guy like Ash – or I remember fighting Mike Comrie two or three years ago, and T.K. fought him too – and he gets in the dressing room and you give him a big hug and you’re like ‘Welcome to the family.’ And you put that behind you and you just want to battle with the guy.
On the competition at this camp:
That’s always good, it’s healthy competition. We have a couple great prospects in the organization so everybody’s going to come down here and be willing to battle and fight for spots. It’s great. I think it’s a nice problem to have, to have too many forwards or too many defensemen.
On losing Gonchar:
You never want to see players go, but that’s hockey. You try to keep the best team possible. Yes we lost Gonchar and Eaton, but we got Martin and Michalek, both great additions. I’m looking forward to playing with these two. I’m looking forward to playing against Gonch and giving him a little slash behind the legs as friends.


Tyler Kennedy
 
On the competition at camp:
It’s going to be a good training camp. There are guys who are fighting for spots. That’s what training camp is all about – earning a spot. I think everyone is excited for the challenge. Guys who have been here are trying to move up. Young guys are trying to make the team and get better every year.
On coming in with the mentality that you have to make the team:
I think I come in every year trying to make the team and doing the best I can.
On what he worked on this offseason:
I did the same thing as usual. I worked hard and took care of my body. I took a little bit of rest. A big part of maturing is getting rest, and I think I did a lot of that.
On what he needs to do better this year:
I think probably the biggest thing is staying consistent all year and believing in myself that I can. I know I can. I am just trying to put it all together now and let this be the year.
On measuring his offense:
I measure my all-around game. I want Coach (Bylsma) to be happy with me and I want to be happy with myself.
On what is missing when he isn’t as consistent:
I turn a couple of pucks over here and there, but I think that everybody does that. You have to keep positive and believe in yourself. You just do what got you there.
On missing Jordan Staal:
He’s a good friend that I like to hang out with a lot. He had a setback, but I think he is very mature and knows how to deal with things. When I have been hurt he knows what to say. I have tried to return the favor, but Jordan is one of the more professional guys on the team, so if anyone can handle it then it’s him.
On anything different he did during the offseason:
I got a little bit of yoga in and stuff like that. It was the same offseason. I had a good offseason with some quality family time.
On the yoga being new:
I just started doing it. It helps keep me flexible. It was kind of weird because there were a lot of older ladies, but it was a good experience.
On what yoga did for him:
I think going there and stretching out just makes me feel a little better now. I think a lot of guys are into it. I liked it. It was a little different.
On going to yoga classes:
I did a couple of yoga DVDs but I also went to a couple classes. I think it is better to get out of the house and go to the classes.
On having his own mat:
Yes, I do.
 

Eric Godard
 
On the goals he set for himself:
I want to score 50 goals this year (he said jokingly). I just want to do the same things. I just want to play better and get more ice time for myself.
On the competition at camp:
It’s going to be a good camp. There should be a good tempo. There are a lot of guys who want to be here so that makes for a good camp.
On the competition bringing up everyone’s game:
Yes, it should. A lot of these guys – it’s better to step up and perform.
On Asham:
I played with him in Long Island so I was excited when we brought him in. I was happy to see him come here. He plays that rough and tumble style, but he has some skill too. He stands up for guys and is a great all-around guy.
On himself, Cooke and Asham making the Penguins tougher to play:
I think so. We also have (Mike) Rupper. TK is willing to go out there and battle. We have a lot of guys like that. That makes for good team toughness.
On Staal’s injury creating more opportunity:
He is a big horse for us, but we have a lot of guys capable of playing for him.
 
_____________________________________________________________________________

1:07 PM:
The Penguins announced that all six preseason games can be heard on the radio.

Four games will be on the team's flagship station, 105.9 the X (WXDX-FM). All six will air on Penguins HD Radio (WXDX-FM HD-2) and will be streamed live on www.pittsburghpenguins.com.

Hall of Fame broadcaster Mike Lange and Penguins HD radio host Steve Mears will call the action, while Phil Bourque provides color commentary.

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1:00 PM:
The Penguins launched their new marketing campaign for the 2010-11 season. The title is: "DESTINY has a new home." It's a calls attention to the team's new arena, but it doesn't let the new arena overshadow the team and its history. It's an optimistic view of the future of the team and city. For more details on how the slogan came to be, read Jason Seidling's story.

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12:56 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room:


Brent Johnson

On having Martin and Michalek in front of him:
It’s going to be great. A couple key guys getting in here on the blue line, and just from people talking about Paul Martin before, I’ve heard he’s one of the best in the league as D-man. And Big Z back here has got one heck of a shot. I’m looking forward to get going.
On his personal goals for the year:
First and foremost is trying to be the best guy I can be in the dressing room for the guys. And I’d like to get maybe 20-25 starts this year. That would be nice for me. And to stay healthy.


Ben Lovejoy

On training camp and earning a roster spot:
I’m dying to be here and hopefully tomorrow I can prove to them that I deserve to be here.
On this year’s camp compared to last year’s:
I have more confidence in my game. The year before I had played two games in the NHL and they had gone well, but I hadn’t played all that much. I played 11 minutes the two games I was here. I didn’t really feel I was confident. This year, over a 12 game stretch, I was able to play well in the NHL and hopefully we’ll be able to continue that. I changed up my training this summer. A bunch of us spent four weeks in Pittsburgh skating four times a week. Obviously, it was a bummer during the summer months to be training, but we did it kind of as an investment to come play well at training camp.
On what he worked on over the summer:
A little bit of everything. My goal is to come in and be in game shape, midseason form. I didn’t feel like I played my best last camp, and I really wanted to focus on coming in and just playing my game right away.
On getting married over the summer:
I still do [watch terrible TV], but I now have a wife and mother-in-law pressuring me to make the team, hoping that we spend more time in the western part of the state, which is certainly a bit more demanding than just me.


Arron Asham

On his short offseason:
It was a month off and then right back into it. It’s definitely been short, but I wouldn’t mind all my summers being like that.
On playing with people he battled against:
That’s just the way the game is. You kind of leave everything on the ice and you battle hard. If it’s a fight or if it’s getting bit by Cookie. It just happens and it’s just a part of the game. Once that horn blows it’s all over. Now I come in here and everyone’s my family right now. Now we have a mission, to win the Stanley Cup and I’m going to do everything I can to help the team out.
On the incident with Cooke:

It was the heat of the battle and I probably would’ve done the same thing. It’s water under the bridge.
On Cooke calling him after signing:
He just welcomed me to the team and was just happy that I was on his team and that he didn’t have to play against me.
On the Penguins being the right fit:
I want to win the Stanley Cup and I felt my best chances were with Pittsburgh. They got two of the greatest players in the world right now and one of the top goaltenders. They made some really good signings this summer and I thought my best chance was here.
On his role on the team:
I’m not sure what it is, whatever coach Dan has planned. Whatever he wants me to do it’s not going change my game. I’m still going to go out there and battle and chip in with some goals here and there and stick up for my teammates.
On playing the Flyers opening night:
This is my fifth team in this division, so I’ve been playing against a lot of ex-teammates. So it’s not going to affect my game.
_____________________________________________________________________________

11:20 AM:
The team's fitness and medical testing is over. Check out some of the photos below and click here for our photo gallery.


Evgeni Malkin lifting weights (left) and showing off his new haircut to the media (right)


Tyler Kennedy (right) rides the bike while assistant coach Tony Granato charts his progress


Craig Adams (left) stretches; Alex Goligoski (tests) his strength with a ball toss


Maxime Talbot performs a squat/lunge
_____________________________________________________________________________

The players also posed for their jumbotron headshots. Here are some pics of them in front of the green screen.


Mike Rupp (left); Pascal Dupuis (right)


Simon Despres (left); Matt Cooke (right)


Sidney Crosby's first-ever media scrum at his locker in CONSOL Energy Center. It is sure to be the first of many.


 
 
 


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