I just got back from the Pens open training camp at CEC. First, as it was my maiden voyage to the new arena, it was beautiful, but I know you all know that already. I wanted to write down some thoughts that I had while watching the squads practice and who I saw.
Alex Pechurskiy- Of course my man crush goes right, right? I'm sure some may not have a lot of faith in him or see him as a potential goalie for us, and most of you know that I love the kid already, but I have to tell you, he actually looked really good. I thought his reaction and reflexes were really good and quicker than some of the other goalies. Also, his recovery time seemed sharp too. Of course he let a few past him, but a lot of them were on a machine-gun kind of drill where player after player were shooting a puck right at him, so you have to give him some credit. And of course, what kind of journalist would I be if I didn't stay neutral? One thing I noticed was that he sometimes over-committed to a player or an angle, making a cross pass very easy. Of course, this was on a 3 on 1 and no defensive help, and most times there would, hopefully, be a defender there to help out. Most importantly he seemed like he was having fun with a huge smile on his face, which is equally as important.
Max Talbot- Max looked like he may have shaken that horrible season last year and he is ready to play. I have said numerous times I think that half of his problem was that the hockey gods grew tired of his "I'm a Superstar, ya!" attitude constantly and made him have a shitty year. But today, his shot looks strong, his skating was strong, and he made some really nice moves with the puck as well. Any comments or ideas hoping that he returns to his old form this coming year seem very possible after seeing him practice today.
Eric Tangradi- What so many are hoping may in fact be. Eric looked poised, comfortable, and eager to make something happen. If there is any hype to be laid on a prospect from WB/S, Eric is a smart choice. More on Eric later.
Zybnek Michalek- This worried me a bit. He looked like the great defensman that we know Ray Shero signed, but he boarded two guys during a scrimmage, one being Talbot. I loved the passion, but I'm hoping it doesn't become a problem during a season. It may just be an opening day excitement, which all players should have, keep in mind, because no one wants to start camp off with a shitty day. More on Michalek below.
Arron Asham- He got a few more jeers than cheers when his name was mentioned or was shown on the big screen, which is understandable. But he seemed to be pretty chummy with Mike Rupp, and if I remember correctly, Cookie, which is great when you think that your three instigators/fighters are bonding. He also got an assist during the scrimmage.
As for line combination's that I saw, Crosby was of course flanked by Kunitz and Dupuis. No surprise there. When the C squad came out, however, we saw the defensive pairing of Letang and Martin, and Malkin taking a wing centered by Mike Comrie and Tangradi at the other wing. Orpik and Michalek also were teamed up for most of the scrimmage.
Of course, it is the first day of camp, and they most likely will change, but I thought people would like to know that some predictions were true at least for today.
I have the schedule for tomorrow and the roster, thought I would need some help figuring out the best way to post it up if anyone were interested. And if you want to know about any other players that were at camp, I will try my hardest to remember what I saw, if anything, and relay it back in the comments.
Hope you enjoyed this fan's take on the first day of camp.
Below are the groupings and schedule for tomorrow's open practice.
Group A: Brent Johnson, Zybnek Michalek, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Chris Conner, Eric Godard, Brian Strait, Brad Thiessen, Robert Bortuzzo, Brooks Orpik, Joe Vitale, Simon Despres, Joey Haddad, Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Geoff Walker, Jason DeSantis, Nick Petersen, Sidney Crosby
Group B: Alex Goligoski, Deryk Engelland, Ben Lovejoy, Andrew Hutchinson, Mark Letestu, Mike Rupp, Matt Cooke, Max Talbot, Craig Adams, Mattias Modig, John Curry, Arron Asham, Derek Peltier, Jesse Boulerice, Chris Collins, Zach Sill, Tyler Brown, Alex Smigelski
Group C: Corey Potter, Paul Martin, Brett Sterling, Dustin Jeffrey, Mike Comrie, Steve Wagner, Tim Wallace, Ryan Craig, Marc-Andre Fleury, Nick Johnson, Eric Tangradi, Tyler Kennedy, Keven Veilleux, Kris Letang, Carl Sneep, Patrick Killeen, Alex Pechurskiy, Evgenic Malkin, Ryan Schnell
Sunday, September 19, 2010 Practice
Group B: 9:00 am- 9:45 am
Group B vs. Group C: 10:00 am- 10:45 am
Group C: 11:00 am- 11:45 am
Group A: 12:00 pm- 1:30 pm