We all know that the team has been collecting defencemen for a while now. The quality of the defence played by that collection was evident in the scrimmage today. They are mobile and quick with their sticks, good on position, and read the play exceptionally well. Some, of course, played better than others, but I definitely left the arena with a real sense of optimism for the Pens defence of the future. I'll give my opinion on some of them and on the forwards, below. I hope others can add to what I have to given everyone a good idea of what was present on the ice today.
Harrington probably stood out the most today. Always in position on D and with a quick outlet pass and quick release on his wrist shot, he looked solid on defence. He partnered with Morrow who looked fast and focused in the second half and showed the stickhandling and ability to carry the puck up the ice that we saw last year. His first half was mediocre, however, with some great moves interspersed with dumb errors that seemed to be the result of a lack of focus and competitive drive, in my opinion. I was glad the second half reminded me of how good he can be. Despres looked solid and steady with some absolutely beautiful moves both defensively to take away potential breaks and offensively to drive the net and set the offense in motion. Great vision from him, still. He also seemed even faster on his feet. I'd heard that he slimmed down a bit and worked on speed, so perhaps he is faster. He was paired with Sustr, who surprised me with some great agility given his size. Sustr was a little quieter, but like the rest of the D, played a solid game and showed why he was invited to camp. He needs to get more accustomed to the Pens style, I think, but broke up some plays with a long reach and did not look out of place. I hope to see him in WBS. Dumoulin and Pouliot were paired together and looked really good. Pouliot had some outstanding stick handling to start the offence, and Dumoulin was outstanding 1:1, in particular, but also in getting out of tight corners. Dumoulin reminded me of Paul Martin
when he was playing really well last season; calm, good protecting the puck and getting stick on puck, and good finding the open man. I hope others have comments on other D out there. It's hard to watch them all enough to actually have comments.
In terms of the forwards...they definitely didn't stand out as much as the D, but there were some beautiful plays. Sill had a great game. He had tons of energy and I could see him talking to everyone on and off the ice. Cleary, he's been here before, has confidence, and is ready and willing to take a leadership role with the newer players. He played his usual feisty game; never giving up, going into the corners and coming out the with puck on several occasions. Bennett had some gorgeous moves and speed, but needs to keep it a bit simpler. He had some great opportunities lost as a result of an extra move. That being said, he sure can move that puck around people and has an uncanny knack for being where the puck is going to be. Marcantuoni is FAST. Not a little fast. Really fast. He had some great moves in the game, but definitely needs more time before he is close to NHL ready. This is not surprising, of course, given his age, but I didn't want anyone to think that I thought his incredible speed should buy him a way in now. I think it will in the future, though. As with the D, I hope other attendees have comments on the forwards.
I left my stand out player of the game for last. Goalie Faragher was really good, especially in the first half but throughout really. I love his ability to play the puck with confidence. He had a couple of moves get a little scary, but most showed excellent control and good instincts. His glove hand is very quick. He plays with apparent confidence and doesn't hesitate. There were a few scary rebounds, definitely, but I was impressed.
I look forward to hearing the impressions of others on the scrimmage. Hockey in July is always fun, but especially when so much skill is evident.
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