Pens Points Friday: Camp Day One and Other Stories

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Your daily thread for Pens and other NHL news. Day 1 of training camp is in the books. The top line looked great, Flower looked shaky, Despres' conditioning was brought up as an issue, and Marcantuoni was the most impressive forward prospect on Thursday. Beau Bennett skated on Malkin's left, where I hope he finds a happy and permanent home. In other news, Canes land Hainsey, Cleary does a 180, and it's high time for hybrid icing.

PENS NEWS

Day 1 of training camp is done. Eric Majeski from LetsGoPens is a must-follow at this time of year. Read his report on the first day here, and keep checking it daily. He's got great stuff. The first line looked great, everyone scored, and Sid and Duper skated circles around people. Geno is glad to be back in Pittsburgh and have everything "go back to normal". Sid was also noticeably physical, and had one pile-up with Sutter that ended up in laughter, while on another occasion he slammed Adams into the boards causing him to land on his head and look visibly unhappy. Save it for Chara, Sid.

As far as Marc-Andre Fleury is concerned, things have nowhere to go but up. On the first day of camp, he didn't look great. I really don't want to read too much into it. We'll see soon enough how real this is. I know this is probably one of the biggest story lines the Pens nation will watch very closely.

The third line will have a new look this year. Sutter will be the center, but just who will be on his wings we begin to slowly decipher as camp progresses. For now we're seeing Jokinen on his left and D'Agostini on his right. Tanner Glass was said to also aspire to a job on the third line, and apparently things started off decent for him. I still see him on the 4th line with Vitale and Adams.

One thing that was brought up by almost everyone who attended the first day of camp was how visibly out-of-shape Simon Despres looked compared to many other teammates, especially Robert Bortuzzo. Hockey Buzz has another camp report and it talks about that and other things. Despres was part of a group that had intense skating drills, and appeared visibly winded, finishing 50 feet behind others. Someone give that kid Gary Roberts's phone number.

One of the prospects who looked especially good on the first day was Matia Marcantuoni. You can learn everything about him in TK-N's excellent article posted on Pensburgh just two days ago as part of our "Top 25 Under 25" series. If you haven't had time to do so already, please check out these great articles and get to know these guys.

FROM AROUND THE NHL

There goes my best-laid plan to ship Nisky to Carolina. In light of Pitkanen's season-shattering injury, the Canes turned to Ron Hainsey, signing him to a 1-year $2M contract. He went from being the Jets' most overpaid and least productive defenseman to the union's main fighter in the 2012 labor impasse, to fears of being blacklisted by the owners, to a 1-year deal with the Hurricanes.

This stuff is worth bringing up again and again, this icing business. Not to be the harbinger of doom, but Joni Pitkanen's heel injury is feared by many to be career-ending. Open ice chase on a stupid icing, and there goes your career. Time for hybrid icing is long overdue. The grand plan is for hybrid icing to be implemented for the 2 weeks of the preseason, and then the NHLPA will vote on whether they agree for it to stay. They'd better, or there will be more Pitkanens.

Dan Cleary pulls a 180, says thanks to the Flyers for the PTO and re-signs with Detroit for 1 year. The leading candidates to plug that hole on their third line are Laughton or frequent call-up McGin. One person that won't be there is Simon Gagne. Apparently that ship has sailed, for unclear reasons, and Gags is in Quebec City still skating by himself. Rumor is he's interested in joining Briere in Montreal but the interest is not mutual. (Part of me wants to sign him just to mess with them.) Also, presumably to excite the fans about camp starting (btw don't waste your energy Flyers - everyone is still part-ecstatic part-petrified after the unveiling of the Eagles Blur offense on Monday night), the Flyers had this sand sculpture of Claude Giroux unveiled outside of Xfinity Live in south Philly. It looks like an out-of-shape Buddha. For years I've had this 4XL Crosby replica jersey that two of me can fit inside, and I think I might just toss it over it to at least look like a proper hockey player.

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy says Nathan MacKinnon will start the season centering the third line. It still feels weird to type 'Avalanche coach Patrick Roy'.

Hey look, it's TK the Shark! Sharks forward Tyler Kennedy speaks to the media following the first day of training camp on Thursday. So long, Baltic Avenue. We'll see which one of 26 possible candidates might take your place on the third line RW.

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