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Penguins Saturday Intra-squad scrimmage recap: Sidney Crosby leaves early

The Pens get on the ice to scrimmage each other on Saturday

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Rosters:

Team Black

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Conor Sheary

Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust

Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang

Jack Johnson / Justin Schultz

Tristan Jarry

Team Gold

Patrick Marleau - Jared McCann - Evan Rodrigues / Sam Lafferty

Zach Aston-Reese - Teddy Blueger - Brandon Tanev

Marcus Pettersson / John Marino

Kevin Czuczman / Chad Ruhwedel

Some rules:

How to watch:

Live blog:

—Opening faceoff features the Crosby/Letang line vs. McCann/Marino

—Next shift it’s Malkin/Schultz against Blueger/Ruhwedel

—Skills coach Ty Hennes and assistant coach Mark Recchi are serving as the referees

—Mike Sullivan coaching Team Black, Jacques Martin in charge of Team Gold

Matt Murray got stung by a high shot from Rust that hit his neck area

—First goal at about 19:24, Malkin and Zucker work a nice give and go, Geno passes to Zucker who gives it back to Malkin right in front of the net for a tap in goal. 1-0 Black

—Overall, as to be expected given the strength, Team Black is getting the better of play and most of the action is in Matt Murray’s end of the ice. Sid and the Kids are getting a ton of time to work on their cycling, little passes down low and working with the puck.

—Conversely, the Malkin line looks just as strong. Malkin appears to be the best player on the ice so far, he’s really flying out there. Rust is shooting from every angle once he gets the puck. Zucker looks like he’s been playing with them for months, not days.

Jack Johnson lays a little check on Lafferty after the forward was reaching for the puck. Not a huge collision but a bit of an open ice collision there.

—Great chance for Crosby in the slot after a beauty of a pass from down low from Guentzel. Nice save by Murray on a shot Crosby got high and away pretty quickly.

—Refs just missed Tanev bringing the puck in off-sides. Come on refs! (Would have been great if the video coach challenged if they had scored, which they didn’t)

—A McCann clearing attempt gets picked off by Sheary and Sheary-Crosby-Guentzel almost go tic-tac-toe but Guentzel can’t handle Sid’s long pass (which might have not been the sharpest)

—A point shot gets through traffic, Murray stops the puck but it’s loose as he scrambles. Guentzel appears to have a pretty good chance to tap in the garbage but somehow in the flurry of the goalie can’t score and the whistle blows

Rodrigues does well to intercept a Malkin pass and keeps it in the zone, wheeling around. Nice vision to find a Tanev to his left for a chip shot, Jarry strong to stop it in a rare moment of action for him

Conor Sheary drives to the net around the right side by Marino and makes a nifty little drop pass back for Sidney Crosby who is able to chip the puck over Murray at the goal-line. Team Black 2-0.

—Team swap now! McCann and Marino are putting on black jerseys (power play) and Brian Dumoulin switches to a white jersey (PK) as the team looks to move into special teams work.

—Bluger+Tanev, Dumo+JJ are the PK’ers...Usual first PP group of Malkin+Crosby+Guentzel+McCann+Letang

—Nice and big hit by Tanev on McCann in the zone

—Guentzel with another good shot, Murray stops it

Marleau+ZAR, Pettersson+Ruhwedel are the second PK group...Zucker+Sheary+Rust+Marino+Schultz as the next batch of power play

—Nice wraparound move by Lafferty to get a short handed chance, Jarry looks sound though in stopping it

Rodrigues picks off a pass and gets a SH breakaway, he shots from afar and Jarry makes the save

—Great puck movement from the top group to spread out the PK’ers, Crosby sauces a pass for Guentzel in front of the net, Jake gets a shot from in front but Murray reads the play and is in position to make the stop.

HALFTIME as the zamboni comes out and the players clear the ice

—Back to 5v5 for the start of the 2nd period, lines and goalies look the same as the start

—McCann picks off a Letang pass and gets a shot on Jarry, who blocks it away

—Play goes the other way, and Letang keeps the puck in and gets it down low for Sheary as Letang is tripped. Sheary passes from down low to Jake Guentzel in front of the net who quickly fires it past Murray. 3-0 Team Black

—McCann dangles and wrists a nice shot by Jarry, but it clanks the post and bounces out to safety. Team Gold keeps up the pressure and has maybe their best sustained pressure of the game. This line has a tweak with Tanev with McCann+Marleau

—New Team Gold line has Rodrigues-Blueger-Lafferty and they flash, specifically Lafferty who has had a couple of nice bursts this morning

—McCann picks Crosby’s pocket and Team Gold has a 3-on-1 rush with Schultz trapped and only Johnson left. McCann elects not to pass and shoots himself, Jarry makes the save

—Team Gold keeping up the heat, Marino gets the puck in space cutting in the middle of the ice and wrists a great shot, but Jarry is right there to stop it and get the whistle

Sidney Crosby has left the bench and gone to the lockerroom for some reason. Lafferty has swapped into a black jersey and now gets the center job with Guentzel and Sheary

Jack Johnson jumps up in the play and gets a shot away, Murray stops it

—Zucker gets tripped on the rush, no call, these refs don’t look like they want to call much and haven’t stopped the game yet

—Malkin leads a rush that ends up in a goal. Rust plays the puck over for Justin Schultz who has plenty of space, Schultz drags the puck and snipes a wrister blocker-side on Murray. 4-0 Team Black

—Lafferty pulls the puck away from a Gold player and the play goes the other way, Lafferty lays a nice saucer pass for Guentzel who rushes down the left side, shooting in motion that beats Murray. 5-0 Team Black

—Team Black just teeing off now, a 3-on-1 with Malkin dropping the pass for Zucker. Play deteriorates without a good chance.

Kris Letang joins the scoring. Give-and-go with Sheary, Letang pops one in. 6-0 Team Black

—The rout is on, Lafferty snaps a quick release from the slot that beats Murray. 7-0 Team Black

—Sullivan has seen enough and stops the play a bit later, players swap jerseys again and we’ll see some more special teams work

—Schultz and Zucker join Guentzel, Malkin and McCann on the new top power play. Murray makes a save

—Blueger, Tanev, Johnson and Dumoulin are top PK still

—Second PP group is out, Letang and Marino with Rust, Sheary and Marleau

—Aston-Reese, Rodrigues, Pettersson, Ruhwedel are the second PK

—Malkin furious with himself after flubbing a one-timer

—Jarry makes a SH save on Blueger five hole on a breakaway

—Murray stops a Letang point shot and that will be it as the team gets together to get a cool down stretch going at center ice to conclude their work for the day

Random general thoughts

—Malkin is all over the ice, dropping back and covering point a lot, looks very engaged and very sharp.

—Sheary and Zucker as support players on power lines have also both stood out positively so far. They’re moving the puck well and making good choices. Each had a primary assist that really made the play happen for their respective star centers to score the only goals in the first half of the scrimmage.

—Fun to just watch something approaching real hockey with real Penguin players! It’s a team scrimmage, there’s no nastiness in front of the net and it’s not quite playoff intensity, but it must be nice for these guys to get to play and not have to just run the typical practice drills like a normal day at UPMC.

—Also liked seeing this happen at 10:45 AM. The games won’t start until noon in the bubble, but there’s a high likelihood that the more games the Pens have, the more odd times that they will have to be game ready and perform no matter what time it is; noon, 2:30, 4:30, etc.

—There’s always the risk of reading too much into a practice, which is bad, but it’s a glimpse of players on the ice and there’s not much time (two weeks from today is the scheduled play-in opener vs Montreal!) so nothing really should be taken out of this, positively or negatively.

—That said, in the opener, Murray looked in battle mode, often scrambling, lost his stick at one point. He was under fire against the top-end players, and other than two tap ins that he had no chance on, he kept the rest out in the first period. On the other end of the ice, Jarry didn’t have much work to do early, but looked very composed, very sound and stopped it all.

—The end got away from Murray, but look above at his defensemen. They were overmatched and didn’t provide hardly any resistance, given up bushels of quality chances against to some very skilled players. When guys like Sheary and Guentzel and Malkin are given no defending and able to give and go and pick spots to shoot on, well, the predictable result is lots of goals. In the second they did just that.

—With Patric Hornqvist still unavailable, the third line had some rotation with Lafferty, Rodrigues and Tanev all getting some opportunities to play with the two stalwarts of the line with Marleau and McCann.

—And, of course, it’s not the Penguins without injury concern. We’ll see what comes of Crosby leaving early in the second period and just how precautionary it will be as far as when the next time he is back on the ice.

Players who stood out in a positive way

Players who popped out and had a good day: Conor Sheary (3 assists, all nice), Jake Guentzel (2 goals), Jason Zucker, Evgeni Malkin, Tristan Jarry, Sam Lafferty (1G+1A)