Penguins Report: West Point (Day 3)
CROSBY TO BENNETT...TOUCHDOWN!!!
Of all the activities that the players did over the weekend at West Point, probably the best moment occurred during the impromptu touch football game. The play of the game was an incredible catch by Paul Martin in the corner of the end zone when he went high over the defense to bring in a Pascal Dupuis pass. Martin stretched his arms for the ball, pulled it in and got both feet down in bounds on the fade route.
But the next best play came on a touchdown hook-up between Beau Bennett and Sidney Crosby. Bennett ran a route down the sideline and into the end zone. Crosby, flushed from the pocket, laced a tight spiral through traffic and right into Bennett's hands. The 21-year-old made the catch and then high-stepped into the end zone to celebrate. Check out the video below.
After practice the players (and staff) got on the bus and drove to Mount Tourne. From there they were split into five groups. Their tasks were to create their own flag, find their own flag pole and carry a heavy rock to the top of the mountain. They recieved points for the best flag, for the fastest time up the mountain and for the heaviest rock. If there was a tie, a push-up contest would be the tie-breaker.
The team gets their instructions.
Crosby, as captain, had to select the five teams.
A little stroll to the woods.
Caution: Entering Military Territory.
The boys walk along the path. Fleury found a stick to play with.
So did Adams.
The first task was to go to the base of the mountain and "check in" with an officer. They had to select a rock (and the bigger ones would get them more points) and have it weighed. Then they had to begin their hike up the mountain.
Kunitz and Team 2 carry their rock up the hill.
Followed by Adams.
Adams was a beast.
Letang couldn't participate due to his lower-body injury. But that doesn't mean he couldn't chip in. He was in charge of drawing his team's flag.
Scuderi halls the rock up the hill. However, on the way up his team dropped the rock. It split into three pieces.
I love the look on Niskanen's face when he picks up one of the three pieces. "Eek."
And to make matters worse, the smallest pieces had the "officer's" official weight written on it in Sharpie. 58 lbs, if you were wondering. So the team, being intelligent, carried all three pieces (of what was now a much lighter rock) up the hill.
On their way to the top, Malkin told me to take his picture. Then he recruited Scuderi and Neal. Geno was carrying the small piece of rock at this point.
Here's Malking carrying the flag staff with a tremendous view of the Hudson River in the background.
Malkin charges the hill with the flag and a staff. Neal carries their flag staff at this point (as you can tell, as the teams spread out I got stuck with Malkin's group. Quite a fun bunch).
The teams mounting their flags on top of the mountain.
Here is the military rock collection. The rocks collected by the teams will remain here forever.
The last team makes their way to the top of the hill. This group also had the heaviest rock (by far). Here is Fleury with a 140 lb. boulder in his arms.
All the teams raise their flags.
Some team photos...
Team 5 showing their pride.
Since two teams tied with 47 points, there was a push-up contest. The teams had to do a combined 375 push ups on this cliff. After a player was done he would tap someone else in. Then he had to run to the base of the cliff and climb up it. And so on, and so on.
More push ups.
Adams climbing up the cliff as the men do their push ups.
Kunitz lent a helping hand for the guys that hand to climb up the cliff side. Here he is giving Fleury a boost.
While the two teams squared off, the rest of the guys watched from below.
And finally, a group shot of all the teams, players, coaches and staff on top of Mount Tourne.
The winning team: Bylsma; Ebbett; Conner; Vitale; Bortuzzo; Maatta; Fleury; and Curtis Bell (athletic trainer)
Head coach Dan Bylsma said the length of Letang's injury would influence the final roster. He will be re-evaluated back in Pittsburgh. He added that Ebbett and Conner were placed on waivers.
The Penguins held a 10:30 a.m. practice at Tate Rink. The only players not skating were Kris Letang (lower-body), Matt D'Agostini (lower-body) and Derrick Pouliot (healthy sit). Tomas Vokoun is still in Pittsburgh recovering from his blood clot surgery.
The Pens scrimmaged with the following combinations/pairings...
START ME UP
Good morning hockey fans. Today is the final day for the Pens in their West Point visit. It's been a lot of fun so far (see all the highlights from Day 1 and Day 2). The team will practice this morning at Tate Rink followed by some lunch and a hike up the Torne Mountain. So stay tuned right here for pictures and highlights. PensTV is also here so you can expect some great videos to come as well.