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Eric Majeski's (aka Netwolf) Camp Reports for LetsGoPens.com

Rookie Camp 2006, Day 1

September 9, 2006

First the obligatory rosters:

Black Team
39 Jordan Morrison
42 Stephen Dixon
46 Ryan Stone
49 Kristofer Letang
53 Moises Gutierrez
56 Jonathan Filewich
58 Paul Bissonette
61 Daniel Fernholm
63 Tim Wallace
70 Mathieu Roy
71 Evgeni Malkin
74 Michal Sersen

White Team
4 Noah Welch
48 Tyler Kennedy
51 Nick Johnson
52 Jordan Staal
54 Ryan Lannon
57 Daniel Carcilo
59 Jeff Kryzakos
64 Ryan Martelli
65 JP Paquet
67 Joe Jensen
72 Connor James

Goaltenders
40 JC Blanchard
50 Patrick Ehelechner
60 Gabriel Bouthillette

The whole session was almost all drills. They spent considerably more time detailing each drill to the players before doing each one. A lot of breakout stuff, a lot of passing. They did have one drill where a forward and a defenseman would go one on one with each other for close to a full minute.

Towards the end, they had some kind of a pseudo-scrimmage. The nets were moved up to the high slot and 2 players from each squad would square off. The remaining players from either team were positioned along the boards with black one one side of center, white on the other. These extra players could be used as passing outlets, but they were not permitted to skate. It was an interesting thing to watch, but eventually it broke down to the two sides trading 2 on nones or breakaways.

Evgeni Malkin got cheered every time he buried a puck. One such time occurred with him setting up to the left of the goalie and drilling a heck of a one-timer. He can definitely shoot. In the 1 on 1s, you could see that Malkin is pretty strong and doesn't mind the physical stuff at all. However, he seemed to be dangling and trying more moves today, particularly in the 2 on 2 game at the end. The most noticeable thing about him today was his skating. He's fast, but where he really stands out is the first 2-3 strides. His acceleration is excellent.

As Wilkes-Barre Penguin beat write Jonathan Bombulie opined yesterday, Noah Welch looks great. He's almost always in perfect position, he makes good decisions... he just plays a very simple, solid game. With the talent he has, playing that way will make him very effective. I look forward to see how he does once the veterans report and the level of competition goes up.

Kris Letang may be the most agile, fluid skater in camp. As good as his skating is, his hands might be better. He scored a breakaway goal with a move that many of the forwards currently here couldn't have pulled off. He's another guy that looked very solid. Every once in a while he would make a mistake, but that didn't happen much. He's only 19, which I believe precludes him from playing for Wilkes-Barre, but he sure looks ready to make the jump to the next level. After another year of juniors, he'll be ready for the next level and may make a strong push for the NHL club.

Jordan Morrison is small (which may be understating it), but he's quick, shifty, and has good hands. He was originally drafted by the Pens in the 7th round (222 overall) of the 2004 draft. The Pens declined to sign him this summer, making him a free agent but he's in camp on a tryout. After seeing one day of drills, it would seem like he has a decent chance of getting a spot in Wilkes Barre.

To be honest, I was not watching Jordan Staal much. He's filled out more than Malkin is, but his skating is average. He gets where he needs to be, but he looks like he's lumbering at times. I will try to pay more attention to him tomorrow.

Ryan Lannon, Jonathan Filewich, and Michal Sersen also looked good at times. In the 1 on 1s, Lannon put Filewich on his back when he tried to go through him. Filewich rebounded with some pretty determined play the next couple of time through. Sersen doesn't really stand out in any particular area, but he was doing a pretty good job of being in position in his end and making himself the trailer and getting good shots off at the other.

Once all the drills were done, the kids were turned over to skating instructor/Malkin translator Besa Tsintsadze. He is an incredible skater, to say the least. He ran these guys into the ground with all kinds of pivots, crossovers, hopping... he even had one drill where the guys had to fall to the ice, then get back up and sprint off in the other direction. I can't remember ever being that interested in watching skating drills before. At the end, he showed off a bit by pulling off some kind of 360 figure skating jump, which drew stick taps from all the players and applause from all the fans that stayed to watch. He acknowledged the crowd with a big smile and waved.

The players were so gassed at the end that not a single guy looked to stay on the ice to shoot around. As they skated off, fans begin cheering Malkin's name. He turned around and raised a stick to acknowledge them.

At one point about midway through the practice, Pens' GM Ray Shero showed up in the stands. He signed some autographs and spent some time talking to fans before he left.

Back to Netwolf's Camp Report List

 
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