Eric Majeski's (aka Netwolf) Camp Reports for LetsGoPens.com
Camp 2005, Day 1
September 14, 2005
Great to be back at this again! I was less than thrilled upon finding out this year's version was going to be at Mellon Arena, but after going there once I have changed my tune. The traffic was a little annoying, but that was to be expected. Parking was a breeze - I got in the lower Arena lot with not trouble at all - park all day for $5.75!
Being in the Igloo again was also tremendous. I don't think I've ever remembered it being that cold in there - it felt like Southpointe. Fortunately, you don't have to sit on metal benches at the Arena. :D Everyone was directed to the East Igloo section, but as the day wore on, people overflowed in to A, B, and C on that side as well. I took up a spot in the box section directly above the entrance from the Igloo Club. It was nice to be able to write down notes without having the pad on my lap!
The biggest difference is that the Arena is MUCH better for taking pictures. I shot 109 today alone and though I haven't looked at them on my PC yet, I think I got a bunch of great shots. I guess I'll find out later....
Anyhow, on with actual hockey stuff... each group did the standard skating and shooting drills, the usual warm-up stuff. The other drills stressed puck movement, cycling and involving the defenseman in the offensive zone. They even worked on defensive zone coverage already.
Teams are listed on the team's page at http://www.pittsburghpenguins.com/schedule/trainingcampteams.php
Team Francis (Black)
Odelein led the stretching, which is usually done by guys considered to be among the leaders on the team.
Tarnstrom seemed to be a bit rusty, or maybe he wasn't awake yet.
Fernholm does not have a very quick release, but he seems to put his shots on net most of the time today. He skates okay for a big guy.
Palffy is as advertised. He is quick and had a great shot. I know he isn't that big, but he looked really small to me - maybe because he was around Pirjeta a lot (he's 6'3" or 6'4" I think).
Whitney looked the same as I remember him - good skating, good shot, passes very well.
Team Herbie (Black)
Fleury (Sabourin stayed out to be the 2nd goalie this session)
This group has an extra forward, which would seem to fall in line with the reports that Lemieux will not play in the tournament. That also means they didn't really keep lines constant, though I did notice that Recchi and LeClair stayed together most of the session.
You can tell by watching them that they've played with each other for a while. Both of them can still fire the puck, especially LeClair. He was ripping them left and right. I wasn't sure what to make of his signing, mostly because of injuries. It's only day one, but he looks completely fine. If he stays that way, we got a great deal I think. Dropping Crosby between them might not be a bad thing.
Crosby is amazing. I did not see many flashy things from him, but he was still very impressive. His first step is excellent and his hands are incredibly quick. He's very agile as well and seems to be able to nail just about any shot out there. Maybe the most impressive thing is how calm he is with the puck. On one occasion, he took a pass in tight, right on top of the crease and behind the defenseman, and made a little move and roofed a backhander over Fleury. I still don't' know how he saw any net, let alone put it in. He was also the only one wearing a black helmet, so he was very easy to pick out.
Ryan Stone left the session early, towards the end when they were doing laps.
Drew Fata has the biggest windup on a slapper that I've ever seen. That will get him in trouble if he's ever rushed.
Welch looks pretty good for a guy in his first camp. Skates pretty well, makes good passes. There seems to be a logjam in front of him, so I'd guess he's targeted for Wilkes-Barre.
Fleury looks as quick as ever, but I began to feel bad for him - there was a stretch where a bunch of shots got by him and every one was either right in a top corner or went in off of the pipe.
Mario was Mario. Made some passes no one else would probably think of and was pretty much toying with the goalies.
Team Badger (Yellow)
There are only 5 defenseman in this group, so everyone was rotating around.
Caron (Fleury was the other goalie in this session. He did much better this session, making a few saves that drew some oohs and ahhs from the crowd.)
Bonvie was the most vocal player on the ice today of any group. You could hear him everywhere. Surprisingly, he was also nailing one-timers at the end of practice with pretty good velocity and placement.
Melichar looks to be in good shape. He has a pretty quick release from the point and his shot appeared to be as hard as any of the other defensemen.
Christensen looked good all-around, Koltsov was as fast as ever and may have improved his shot a little. Malone looked okay as well.
Team EJ (Red)
Chiodo (Caron was stayed out for this session)
Gutierrez looks like a really big kid. He skates well for a guy that size.
Roy led the stretching. His shot is huge. He hit the net more often than not, but not by much.
Salmonsson is the good skater he was advertised to be, though you can't get a good idea for his top gear in practices. Looked pretty lanky - I Imagine they'll have him in the weight room.
Orpik didn't look very rusty - at least no more so than anyone else. If is upset of the contract he signed, it didn't show as he signed autographs for a couple of kids behind the bench and gave pucks to some others before leaving the ice.
Tournament games start tomorrow at 9:00am. Should be great!
Thanks for the memories, Ron! Viva la Francis!
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