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Penguins Report: Training Camp Day 2

Sunday, 09.19.2010 / 8:00 AM / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
That's a wrap. Day 2 of training camp is in the books. Here is the skinny from the day:

- The Tangradi-Comrie-Malkin line looked great at their first scrimmage (2:36 PM).
- Group B finished a perfect 2-0 in camp scrimmages following a 2-1 shootout win over Group C. Mark Letestu was again the hero of the day. A few other observations from the scrimmage at (11:26 AM).
- Sunday was Dan Bylsma's 40th birthday (2:34 PM).
- Brooks Orpik talked about his health after summer surgery (12:59 PM).
- Bylsma pinpointed a few players that have impressed him in camp thus far (1:18 PM).
- Evgeni Malkin is taking on a more leadership role by talking with the media (1:33 PM).
- The fans once again lined up early to see their favorite team practice (9:17 AM).
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2:36 PM:
Jason Seidling took a look at how the Eric Tangradi - Mike Comrie - Evgeni Malkin line has looked in camp so far. Spoiler alert - the answer is pretty good.
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2:34 PM:
Sunday was head coach Dan Bylsma's 40th birthday. A couple of the players thought about pulling some Bday pranks. See how that turned out here.
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1:37 PM:
Prior to their practice session a few Pens players, including forward Chris Kunitz and defenseman Zbynek Michalek, took time to meet with some fans at CONSOL Energy Center.

 
Chris Kunitz (left) and Zbynek Michalek (right) meet and greet with fans
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1:33 PM:
It's just two days into training camp and we are seeing a new Evgeni Malkin. The former Art Ross and Conn Smythe winner entered camp with a few goals in mind, one of which was to be a more assertive leader in the Penguins locker room.

The Russian superstar has stayed true to his word so far on handling a heavier leadership role. Malkin, who is still shy around the media due to the language barrier, spoke to the media in the locker room for the second straight day! Malkin is trying to become a more prominent figure on the team, and dealing with the media is one major way to accomplish that feat.

Also, Malkin has taken fellow countryman Alex Pechurskiy, who doesn't speak any English, under his wing, just as former Penguin Sergei Gonchar did for him.


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1:18 PM:
CoachSpeak with Dan Bylsma.

On players who stood out to him:
There are some people that are doing well. It’s tough to not have noticed Mark Letestu at this point. He has 66 percent of the offense out there. That’s Malkin- and Crosby-like. I think there’s some other people who have also impressed. Corey Potter on the back has, both days, been a guy who has impressed with his play. And he’s a guy in that mix for the competition for the depth, the six and seven (defensive) spot. I think Eric Tangradi has been impressive in the way he’s played in the scrimmages in that line with those two guys. I think his skating has been noticeable. He’s picked up his step. Dustin Jeffrey is a guy you can add to that group and has impressed so far. He’s had the smarts and he’s been a good positional player, but he’s added a step to his game, I think. You can see it in the scrimmages and with those guys, I’ve been impressive.
On playing Malkin with Crosby, and who would play with Staal:
Yes, I’ve contemplated seeing Malkin with Crosby. If we think back to two years ago on our five-game road trip when we won those five games, Staal played with Kunitz and Kennedy and it was a real effective line in that stretch when Sid was not with the team. (Staal) is a straightforward powerful player. He can play with speed, but a lot of his game is powering around the net in the offensive zone, and guys like Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke are good with Jordan Staal.
On Kunitz’s expectations:
His expectations are much higher offensively than he showed last year.
On veterans that have impressed:
There have been a handful of veterans that have set the tone for camp. Matt Cooke has come out and been a force out on the ice physically and played like it was a meaningful game in the scrimmages. And Alex Goligoski yesterday was very good, and he was good again today. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin again were given high marks after Day 1 for pace, paying attention to detail and playing the right way. I think we have a group of guys that are out there leading the way in terms of veterans, in addition to some of the guys who’ve come in and have a chance to impress.

Assist: Tony Jovenitti

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12:59 PM:
Soundbites for the day:


Chris Kunitz
On the players’ lounge and finding a new routine:
Obviously it’s new, and it’s something you have to get used to doing with different routines. But I think it’s going to work out good having a large space and training facilities. There are a lot of bikes for us. With a lot of space, that’s probably one the areas a lot of guys will be. That’s probably where they want us to be. The training room is right off there and it makes it convenient. I think it makes it nice for people coming through like the media who can interact with some player not necessarily in the locker room, but out in the lounge area, too.
On the CONSOL Energy Center ice:
They put it in three days ago and had a couple concerts, so it’s something we’re going to have to deal with. It’s a new building and we have a lot of entertainment coming through. But it’s new ice, so it was a little snowy at first but that’s what happens. I don’t know if Mellon had to deal with that much in the past, but we’re going to have to deal with that a lot. But I think the ice will keep getting better and better. The technology is there so we should have no problem in the future.
On the boards and the glass:
The boards seem to have that hard kick off the bottom and the pucks come straight. The glass is fairly friendly. It’s not the rock hard seamless that you run into sometimes that causes a lot of injuries. But, we’re still learning every time we go out there. It seems like a great building to play in.
On his goals for this year:
You want to be better than the year before. That’s what you train for. I had some rough injuries, but you got to just focus on team goals first. We’re all set up to win the Stanley Cup. That’s our goal from Day 1. From there, personal goals will take care of themselves.


Paul Martin 
On what attracted him to Pittsburgh:
You make the best decision you can with what you’ve got. The guys here, the caliber players they have here, the city, the fans, you put down on paper as why you’d want to go somewhere. I talked to a couple guys like Mike Rupp and everything was positive. It was an easy decision for me.
On playing with guys that he’s battled against in the past
:
It’s usually the tough guys, the guys that try to get under your skin, that you don’t really like when you play against them. Those are the guys, when you get in the locker room, are the best to be around. That’s just the way the league is.
Transitioning to Pittsburgh’s system:
I’m excited. I think it will better suit my game. The Penguins put a lot of emphasis on the defense. They just use everybody to do it, which is similar to New Jersey, we’re just a little more aggressive trying to get the puck out. There are a couple small tweaks here and there, but I don’t think there will be much of a transition period.


Brooks Orpik
On his health after a sports hernia surgery in the summer:
I’m feeling a lot better than last year, but it’s definitely a work in progress. I just takes about an extra 40 minutes in the morning to get warmed up and loosened up. Then I take an extra 30 minutes of rehab exercises every day. In that sense, it just takes a little bit longer. I’m definitely not at full health, but it’s a step in the right direction.


Matt Cooke
On playing with Asham and Talbot:
This is two days now that I’ve played with Arron, and I think that our approach to the game is similar. And anytime you’re in a situation like that you quickly understand how the other guys plays, because he’s pretty much doing what I would do. I have been a guy in the past who has been asked to maybe not talk so much, but that’s something I’ve always done. And that’s something I encourage my linemates to do because it helps me on the ice. If I can have an extra set of eyes in the back of my head, I want them, so talk to me. That’s what I firmly believe, so I’m out there trying to communicate as much as I can with my linemates.


Assist: Tony Jovenitti
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11:54 AM:
The Penguins will host their annual Score One for Life Blood Drive in partnership with the Center Blood Bank Monday, September 20 from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the CONSOL Energy Center.  In addition to helping save lives, blood donors will have the opportunity to watch the Penguins team practice if they register between 10:00 am – 12:00 pm!  Also, all blood donors will receive a commemorative t-shirt and are eligible to win Penguins memorabilia. More details here.

Penguins radio analyst Phil Bourque and FSN Pittsburgh's Dan Potash at the 2009 Score One for Life Blood Drive (Pittsburgh Penguins)

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11:50 AM:
The Penguins announced that the first-ever game played at CONSOL Energy Center will feature the return of the popular Student Rush Program! Details here.

Students camp out for a chance at Student Rush tickets last season (Pittsburgh Penguins)

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11:48 AM:
Here are some shots of the scrimmage:




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11:26 AM:
The Group B-C scrimmage is over. Here are some highlights (courtesy of Jason Seidling):

First Period
13:28: Malkin made a move to the middle of the slot, but his shot was stopped by the right pad of Modig.

12:10: GOAL! Mark Letestu, who scored the only goal in Saturday's scrimmage and has looked tremendous so far in camp, tallied another goal Sunday. He skated down the left side, made a move to get around Martin and blew a powerful wrist shot past Fleury. Group B leads 1-0.

6:30: GOAL! Group C tied up on a Dustin Jeffrey goal. Brett Sterling stole a pass at the blue line and sneaked the puck over to Jeffrey. Jeffrey beat Modig along the ice with a defenseman in his face. He made a nice move to open space for himself and get a shot off in traffic.

2:04: Sterling and Jeffrey hooked up on a two-on-one, but this time Modig got his stick on the puck. It was a great saucer pass by Sterling.

0:35: Tim Wallace found a loose puck in the slot. His low, hard wrist shot was denied by Modig's groovy kind of glove.

Second Period
18:40: Curry made a couple good back-to-back-to-back saves. First, he stopped a Comrie shot. Then he denied two rebound opportunities by Tangradi.

17:19: Jeffrey skated through the middle, attracted two D-men and slipped the puck to Kennedy. Kennedy sent a good wrist shot towards Curry, who fought it off with his glove.

15:00: Potter dished out some candy to Boulerice. Potter slammed Boulerice hard against the glass in front of the penalty box. The fans went wild for the physical play.

9:49: Pechurskiy robbed Asham from six feet away. The play started with Letestu getting his stick on a breakout pass (intended for N.Johnson) to keep the play alive. Cooke jumped on the loose puck and found Asham in front. These three have been the been line at camp thus far.

7:46: Tyler Brown appeared to score a goal, but it was waived off because he batted it in with a high stick.

3:46: Kennedy is looking like the TK of old. He sprinted down the right side and got off another good shot on Curry, who made the save. Kennedy appeared to be giving a strong answer to the coaches challenge at camp.

0:00: The game ends tied at 1-1. We're going to a sudden death shootout.The fans went crazy after the announcement.

Shootout: Letestu (Group B) and Tangradi (Group C) took the first round. Tangradi beat Curry with a shot on the glove side, but the puck dinged hard off the post. Letestu, who is by far the most impressive player at camp, made a stick move and slid the puck through Pechurskiy's five-hole to give Group B the win.

Note: The Tangradi-Comrie-Malkin line looked better and better as the scrimmage went on ... Jeffrey and Sterling played well together. Both are blessed with natural talent and complimented each other well ... The Cooke-Letestu-Asham trio has been the best so far at camp and is jelling quickly ... Letestu is making a great push for a roster spot in Pittsburgh. In two scrimmages he has two goals, one game-winning goal and a shootout-winning goal.

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10:19 AM:
Group B and Group C are scrimmaging right now (see 8:00 entry for rosters). The combinations for the scrimmage are:

Group B
Cooke-Letestu-Asham
Rupp-Adams-Talbot
Collins-Sill-Boulerice-Smigelski-Brown (lots of shuffling here)
Goligoski-Lovejoy
Hutchinson-Engelland
(Peltier)
Modig
Curry (backup)

Group C
Tangradi-Comrie-Malkin
Sterling-Jeffrey-Kennedy
N.Johnson-Wallace-Craig
Schnell-Veilleux
Marting-Letang
Wagner-Potter
(Sneep)
Fleury
Pechurskiy (backups)

Group B is also using combinations of Asham-Letestu-Talbot and Cooke-Adams-Rupp. Adams took a few shifts at center during the scrimmage.

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9:19 AM:
The first practice group (Group B, see 8:00 entry for rosters) is on the ice. The two combinations of note are:

Cooke-Letestu-Asham
Rupp-Talbot-Adams

Lovejoy and Goligoski are skating on a defensive pairing together, with Engelland taking an occasional shift with both guys.
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9:17 AM:
Penguins fans came by the masses to CONSOL Energy Center to see their favorite team practice. Just as they did Saturday, Penguin faithful lined and consumed the sidewalks hours before the gates opened.







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8:00 AM:
Day 2 of the Penguins 2010 training camp is upon us. There were some eventful developments from the first day. As always, we tracked the whole day here at pittsburghpenguins.com (as did Trib Total Media's Rob Rossi).

Sunday's practice, in conjuncture with RADical Days Pittsburgh, will be open to the public and free of charge - just like it was for Day 1. Over 6,000 fans came to CONSOL Energy Center on Day 1, an incredible turnout.

The Penguins will again hold three practices, and one intra-squad scrimmage. The 57-man training camp roster has been broken into three groups.  Click here to download the Training Camp schedule and groupings

Sunday's itinerary will be:
9 a.m. - Group B practices
10 a.m. - Group B and Group C scrimmage
11 a.m. - Group C practices
12 noon - Group A practices

Below are the team's groupings:

Group A

Forwards
Sidney Crosby
Chris Conner
Pascal Dupuis
Eric Godard
Joey Haddad
Chris Kunitz
Nick Petersen
Casey Pierro-Zabotel
Joe Vitale
Geoff Walker

Defensemen
Robert Bortuzzo
Jason DeSantis
Simon Despres
Zbynek Michalek
Brooks Orpik
Brian Strait

Goaltenders
Brent Johnson
Brad Thiessen


Group B

Forwards
Arron Asham
Craig Adams
Jesse Boulerice
Tyler Brown
Chris Collins
Matt Cooke
Mark Letestu
Mike Rupp
Zach Sill
Alex Smigelski
Maxime Talbot

Defensemen
Deryk Engelland
Alex Goligoski
Andrew Hutchinson
Ben Lovejoy
Derek Peltier

Goaltenders
John Curry
Mattias Modig


Group C

Forwards
Mike Comrie
Ryan Craig
Dustin Jeffrey
Nick Johnson
Tyler Kennedy
Evgeni Malkin
Ryan Schnell
Brett Sterling
Eric Tangradi
Keven Veilleux
Tim Wallace

Defensemen
Kris Letang
Paul Martin
Corey Potter
Carl Sneep
Steve Wagner

Goaltenders
Marc-Andre Fleury
Patrick Killeen
Alex Pechurskiy
 
 
 
 

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