Eric Majeski's (aka Netwolf) Camp Reports for LetsGoPens.com
2013 Camp, Day 2
January 14, 2013
The abbreviated 2013 training camp took the Pittsburgh Penguins to an arctic Consol Energy Center today for a noon practice session. They're keeping it pretty chilly in there, which is as it should be. So I lost feeling in my hands for a while? What's the big deal? They thawed out a few hours later. It's all good.
Player combos were largely unchanged from yesterday:
I spent a bit of time watching Robert Bortuzzo in the 1 on 1s again. I would really like to see him win a spot in the top 6. By all accounts, he was a top defenseman for Wilkes-Barre last year and has continued to be this year. He may not have much left to prove at that level. The parent club could use a big, strong defensive defenseman like him, especially if he can make the adjustment quickly and work his way on to the penalty kill. He skates well and is good positionally, but the main thing I notice when I watch him is his wingspan; he's very rangy. If you remember Kjell Samuelsson, you know what I mean. A more recent example would be Hal Gill, though Bortuzzo isn't quite that big, but he is a much better skater. Being paired with Ben Lovejoy, he's been playing the left side which I do not believe is normal for him. If he can get comfortable on the left, that versatility can only help his chances.
They also started working on special teams today. Your top power play unit (for now) is Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, and Kris Letang. Those guys were moving around quite a bit; lots of rotation. Kunitz was usually right around the crease and Letang was often at center point. Malkin was mostly on the right side of the ice, anywhere from the bottom of the circle to out on the right point. On one of the earlier run-throughs, he bombed a one-timer from the bottom of the right circle. It was a perfect example of why he should never, ever be set up on the left side: opposing PK units would love to not have to worry about defending that shot. Crosby was also on the right, swinging between goal line and the half-wall. Neal was the wild card. He was moving a lot: right point, left point, high slot, just moving to open space away from the puck.
Craig Adams, Tanner Glass, Brian Strait and one other defenseman I couldn't make out served as PK opposition for the top unit. The second unit wasn't out there as long (get used to that), but was made up of Tyler Kennedy, Brandon Sutter, Pascal Dupuis, Matt Niskanen, and Paul Martin.
On to the shootout (quick observations)...
Pretty vocal practice today. Guys seem to especially like chirping Marc Andre Fleury when they get one by him. I wonder why that is?
I had trouble deciding if today's practice was a little less up-tempo, or if it just seemed that way because of the setting. Maybe a little of both...
In a 5 on 5 drill, Crosby had the puck in the right wing corner. Matt Cooke made a good play to get body position on him and knocked him off the puck, which is hard to do. Unfortunately for Cooke, Crosby immediately picked his pocket and threw a beauty of a pass to the left point.
During a neutral zone forecheck drill, head coach Dan Bylsma could be heard barking instructions: "F2, when they go D to D, your job is to get to that wall and seal it off." Basically, they want the second guy in to take the easy pass up the wall away, and force him to either eat it on the boards or attempt a tougher pass, and maybe create a turnover they can counterattack off of.
As practice was winding down, Malkin was firing pucks across the rink at Cooke. It took a few, but Cooke eventually caught on.
There was a brief shootout at the end of practice. It wasn't a full team thing, so I don't think it was mustache boy or anything like that. Whatever the setup was, Ben Lovejoy appeared to win it on a Datsyukian move. I hope video of it surfaces.
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