We’ve finally (almost) made it.
With just about all team members in town, medicals and off-ice stuff to get ready are Thursday, and the first on-ice official activity is Friday. No schedules appear to be on the internet at press time just yet, though.
Sprong: “I had a really good summer in Montreal. I put on some more muscle and had a chance to work on my speed. I was really happy with how last season went. I thought playing the season in WBS was huge for my development. I think it helped me to get ready for this year.” pic.twitter.com/A0e6Ggx0pz— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) September 11, 2018
Here’s a very mature quote from Daniel Sprong:
“Well, it kind of sucked riding the buses to smaller towns across the east coast all season while making $70,000 instead of making 10 times more and living the first class life in the show.”
It’s water under the bridge at this point, but if he’s practicing what he’s preaching, the sign of a very good attitude and perspective to take is apparent here.
Between the encouraging comments offered by Mike Sullivan last week, to these comments, it’s time to get excited about finally exiting the summer holding pattern and seeing what kind of opportunity Sprong can get and just how much he can do with it.
Sprong is certainly in the “top-five most interesting players in camp,” and surprisingly enough, perhaps so is a mainstay in Kris Letang. So how’s the No. 1 defenseman feeling as compared to this time 12 months ago?
”Like a million times better,” Letang said with a laugh. “It’s not even close. It feels good to have good sessions all throughout the summer and be able to skate out there.”
“Mentally, you’re more sharp, so you can keep a high pace all game and be able to process everything the same way,” Letang explained. “If you don’t train, yes, you can have good shifts, but when the fatigue starts creeping in on you, you start making bad decisions. So to have the whole summer to train, my body feels good, my cardio is good, conditioning is good.”
Who knows, maybe this will be the “feel good” part of the “look good, feel good, play good” mantra. A total bounceback isn’t needed for a guy who still put up the points (51) and minutes (again in top-10 in league) last season, but if less fatigue leads to perceived or better decisions, that could help cut down on the 77 5-on-5 goals against that Letang was on the ice for in 2017-18.
My how things have changed!
Pittsburgh Penguin paychecks, 1989-90. #Pens pic.twitter.com/BkUgFHkysv— Penguins History (@penguinshistory) September 12, 2018
Remember there’s inflation to consider - $100,000 in September 1989 would be worth $201,604 today, but even then Paul Coffey’s $450k salary would “only” be just over $900,000 in today’s dollars for one of the top defensemen in the league at that time. Sports and the business dynamic sure have changed a lot in the almost 30 years since this season.