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

Camp 2011, Return to Southpointe

September 23, 2011

Prerequisite self-promotion: I live-tweet from open practices and preseason games. Follow me at @LGP_netwolf or visit http://twitter.com/LGP_netwolf

Today was a step back in time for me personally. I first started going to Pens' practices back in the mid-90s when the Iceoplex first opened. The Pens have filled that rink before and it's always nice to see the team doing so well. That said, there is something nice about having the rink mostly to yourself. The change in venue, lousy weather, and the fact this session wasn't largely publicized all contributed to a small crowd. Through most of the first session, there were maybe a dozen people there. That number only grew into the mid-20s around lunchtime.

Brooks Orpik had a scheduled maintenance day and Kris Letang missed practice due to migraines. Jason Williams, Robert Bortuzzo, and Boris Valabik also missed with various injuries.

The first group was set up like this:

Neal-Malkin/Crosby-Sullivan
N.Johnson-Craig-Jeffrey
Cooke-Letestu-Dupuis

Martin-Michalek
Picard-Morrow

Fleury
Monroe

Since Sidney Crosby is at the forefront of everyone's mind, I'll start there. He was back to being the sole player on the ice with a white helmet, but again looked fine. He appeared to be going all out and looked fine. While he hasn't been cleared for contact, he did still take some light contact, particularly in a 1 on 1 drill that began on the half wall.

Two players would line up side by side on the boards and a coach would throw a puck out. One player attacked, the other had to defend. Evgeni Malkin was a beast here, and not just when he was the offensive guy. He may have actually been more impressive while defending. He was physical and did an excellent job using his stick.

Another interesting drill was done 5 on 5. The offensive team started with the puck and would take a shot on goal from one of the circles. At that point the offensive team continued to attack, while the defensive team had to clear the zone, either by skating or chipping it out. If the chip went for an icing though, it was considered a "loss" for the defensive guys.

Steve Sullivan showed no lingering effects from whatever kept him out of the 3rd period of the Black and Gold game and the first two preseason games. He was darting all around the ice.

After the official part of practice was over, Marc Andre Fleury was taking some extra shots. Malkin was going high and clipped him in the mask with one. The next one caught Fleury and up around the collarbone. Fleury yelled something and flung his stick at him. Looked like Fleury wasn't seriously mad, but wanted to make a point.

Todd Reirden worked with the defenseman on handling loose pucks. He'd saucer a bad pass to the first guy, who had to corral it, and then pass to a second guy. He had to get a shot on net while a forward set a screen.

Joe Morrow was the last guy off the ice. He spent the last 5-10 minutes talking with Reirden and just working on little things.

The second group broke down like this:

Kunitz-Staal-Kennedy
Tangradi-Vitale-Adams
MacIntrye-Park-Asham

Niskanen-Engelland
Strait-Harrington-Lovejoy

B. Johnson
Thiessen

This group ran the same drills as the first, but not as much to note this session.

Arron Asham had a rough morning. He got tangled up with Niskanen and went hard into the end boards. He was slow to get up, but did not miss his next turn. In the 1 on 1s, he got tangled up with Richard Park and both crashed to the ice in the slot.

Brian Strait was tough in the 1 on 1s, pancaking Jordan Staal once.

Check back tomorrow afternoon as the Pens take on the Minnesota Wild at 3:00pm.

Back to Netwolf's Camp Report List

 
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