Eric Majeski's (aka Netwolf) Camp Reports for LetsGoPens.com
2012 Development Camp, Day 3
July 12, 2012
The Pittsburgh Penguins were nice enough to extend an invitation to me for Prospect Development Camp this week, so I was there this morning and will be at the remaining sessions. Check back here for daily reports and follow me on Twitter at @LGP_netwolf for observations during each session.
The rest of the week shakes out like this:
Friday, July 13th: 9:15am to 11:30am
Saturday, July 14th: Scrimmage from 3pm to 5pm
No rant today (I know, you're disappointed). Instead, you get to hear me qualify pretty much everything I've posted or will post regarding this camp. When reading these comments, you should keep in mind this is a development camp. In July, no less. Anything that happens, good or bad, doesn't define these kids for the rest of their careers. It's just a few days in the summer. Take what you read at face value, that's all.
One small bit of news: the recently re-signed Keven Veilleux is in town, working out at Consol Energy Center. I noticed a locker was set-up with a nameplate for him yesterday, and upon arriving early to the rink this morning, caught the tail end of a light workout with a couple of staff members. He wasn't in full equipment; just a track suit. Hopefully, he can put his injuries behind him. You don't often find guys with hands that can stickhandle and fight, especially with a bit of a mean streak AND in a 6'5" frame.
Marianne Watkins made her first appearance at development camp this morning. For those unfamiliar, Watkins is a power skating coach that has worked with the Penguins before, as well as other NHL players, and at many other levels of the sport. She got all of the skaters out there to open today's session; no split squad work as in previous days. This group lucked out; I saw her get a group for a whole session once at Southpointe and everyone was beat by the time it was over. Today's session was not that intense; just basic edge drills, some crossover work, and that 10-and-2 move Sidney Crosby made famous. Despite this only going on for about 20 minutes, the ice was destroyed.
The ice was cleaned up and a bunch of long, rectangular pads were thrown out on the ice. Eventually, these were connected together and lined up along each blueline. Nets were stationed along the side boards to create a miniature rink in each offensive zone. For the rest of the day, the players scrimmaged 3 on 3 at either end. Everyone that wasn't playing at the time waited for their turn at center ice.
On one hand, this was much more interesting to watch than the drills that had been done up to this point. On the other, it was tough to keep up with two games at once, especially the high pace. It wasn't exactly a defensive struggle either. Keep that in mind when reading the following observations:
I'm really trying not to oversell this kid, but I still do not understand why Andrej Sustr has gone undrafted to this point. He may end up developing into a good pro, he may not, but he has great size and in my 3 viewings, appears to have a decent amount of skill to go with it. He was making some pretty nice moves out there (and in tight spaces) and scored some slick goals. On one play, he used his huge reach to pick off a pass, then skated in on goal, made 3 or 4 moves, then slid a backhander into the net. I don't know; maybe I'm just overestimating the skill because you don't expect to see it from a guy that big. Or maybe he's just a pretty good player.
2012 second round pick Teddy Blueger made some nice plays. He's pretty quick, kind of darts around the ice. He isn't afraid to go into traffic or attack defenders and is a pretty shifty with the puck. Going right up the middle through 3 guys is tough to do, let alone on a short rink like this, but he pulled it off once and scored. He also made a beautiful backhand saucer pass to set up a goal.
Beau Bennett had another good day. His stickhandling prowess was on display most every shift. His best play came when he bodied another player off the puck, deked the goalie (Murray, I think) to the ice, and put a backhand upstairs. He also scored on a pretty nice one timer. It was a little surprising to later hear from him that his wrist is only at 80%. If he's able to do what he's doing now (admittedly not against NHL competition), I'm looking forward to seeing him at 100%.
Alex Velischek had me thinking he was a forward yet again with the way he looks carrying the puck. He also had a tremendous cross-ice, backhand pass for a goal. The fact that he saw the lane with a quick look over the shoulder might have been even more impressive than the pass itself.
Some quick-hitter comments: Kenny Agostino had a nice one-timer goal. Scott Harrington had a goal on a real nice, bar-down wrister from in close. Adam Payerl made a nice deke to his backhand to get around a defender and make a nice centering pass, but Murray made a nice stop on the shot.
Check back tomorrow for more coverage of the 2012 Penguins Development Camp from Consol Energy Center.
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