The best thing to say about the Penguins involvement in the prospect showcase in Buffalo is that, well, it’s over and no one got hurt. The Pittsburgh contingent lost 10-2 on Monday to the Sabres team — one that rested two of their top players.
One of the few bright spots for the Penguins was defenseman Calen Addison, who stood out wearing a Pens jersey for the first time.
”He’s quick, he’s small, but he’s very, very crafty. He’s going to utilize his body in one-on-one battles,” Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Clark Donatelli said. “He’s got a really good stick and a lot of skill. He’s going to be a fine player going forward. We’re very, very impressed with him.”
Addison, not coincidentally, was the only player Pittsburgh brought that was drafted in the first three rounds of the draft. While the team always has high hopes and dreams for anyone around, it’s a stretch to believe that Pittsburgh brought much more than NHL replacement caliber players (at best) up to Buffalo. And not that this is a newsflash, but after getting outscored a combined 20-6 in three games, it’s not a venue anyone will be sad to leave and move onto the next step of starting training camp later this week; off ice testing begins on Thursday and then the team is officially on the ice Friday.
One of the coolest days of the year is when the Penguins deliver season tickets.
Crosby hung around for about 45 minutes, played street hockey in the driveway, chatted with the kids about going back to school and the adults about vacationing in PEI. Crosby was engaged and completely at ease. Cool to see this from a superstar.— Matt Vensel (@mattvensel) September 10, 2018
Speaking of Matt Murray:
Matt Murray is an incredibly well spoken person. it’s fascinating to read some of the things he says and the mindset he uses. fantastic work here from @JMackeyPG https://t.co/Omfaoefc5H pic.twitter.com/zgnGAwJzm8— Mike Darnay (@MikeDarnay) September 10, 2018
There are no secrets here, everyone knows the Penguins will go as far as Murray can take them, and that he wasn’t good enough last season. It would be impossible not to have some interesting storylines or notes heading into training camp, even for a team like Pittsburgh where most of the roster questions are known.
Beyond Jack Johnson’s ability to mesh with the team and his usage, Daniel Sprong’s critical time to shine, and how Derick Brassard fits in — all of those are good things to watch. But the most interesting part should be Murray. Will he be the brick wall we saw in 2016 and 2017? Or will he be the shakier player from 2018? His mindset seems good heading into the season, but can he for once stay healthy and break the 50 game plateau for the first time in his career?
It’s a bit weird that for a player so young, who has accomplished so much, to still have a lot of questions and uncertainty surrounding him, but here we are. How Murray’s season starts is definitely one of the more interesting items to consider and monitor.