Eric Majeski's (aka Netwolf) Camp Reports for LetsGoPens.com
2013 Development Camp, Day 4
July 19, 2013
The instructional portion of the 2013 Pens Development Camp wrapped up today. The camp concludes with a scrimmage tomorrow at Consol Energy Center. Admission is free, as is parking in arena surface lots. Doors open at 2pm for the 3pm start. Several concession stands will be open, as well as the team store. I highly recommend coming out and watching these guys for yourself if you can.
This morning saw another twist to the format, as the forwards practiced separately from the defensemen. Pens head coach Dan Bylsma made his first on-ice appearance of the week, though Wilkes-Barre bench boss John Hynes ran the practice for the most part. The forward session was largely centered around puck skills. One drill focused solely on taking passes on the backhand. Players had to circle around the neutral zone, gather 2 or 3 passes on the backhand before skating in for a shot on goal.
Tom Kuhnhackl had a pass sent behind him a bit, but he pulled off the Sidney Crosby "kick it to your stick between your legs without slowing down" trick. Buried the shot right after too, under the bar. He continued to show no lingering effects from the shoulder injury that cost him most of last year. After practice, he said "It's (shoulder) almost back to normal. I'm gonna find out tomorrow if I'm going to play. It's a game-time decision. I just want to get that first big hit over with, get hit really hard and if it feels good, I'm ready to go." (Stick tap to Nick Richter at PensNation for those quotes.)
The next drill had three guys skate in. Puck carrier would shoot and other went for the rebound. Adam Payerl screwed up the first run through by ripping a shot over Tristan Jarry's glove.
A few minutes later, Jarry took a shot up high. He winced in pain and came out of the net, and one of the coaches took a look. He remained on the ice for a while, but eventually left and did not return. Pens' Assistant to the GM Tom Fitzgerald later confirmed it was off the collarbone, but that he was fine.
Bylsma grabbed a large pad (similar to those used by MMA trainers for kicks if you follow that) and set up in the corner with a forward with the puck. On the whistle, players had to battle out of the corner, and circle off the wall around the faceoff dot for a shot on goal. The drill would progress to add a second forward. At that point, the 1st man would reverse the puck to him and circle out as before, but the second was setting him up for one-timer. Player Development Coach Bill Guerin manned the pad at the other end of the rink, stopping the drill at one point to stress continued protection of the puck after working out of the corner and into the slot.
Dominik Uher put another 3 or 4 goals under the bar. I can't remember seeing him shoot anywhere but top glove the whole week. Scott Wilson had a really nice backhander to the far post.
The next drill had them carrying a puck behind the net. As they get to the far post, they pivot and come out that side backwards & take a shot. Matia Marcantuoni popped a water bottle with a wrister to the far post on one attempt. Really tough shot to make. Payerl was also good at this; he has quicker hands than you'd think.
Defenseman practice wasn't quite as interesting. The first drill had the goaltender stop a puck behind the net and a single defenseman would retrieve it and fire a long outlet pass back to the blueline. After that drill completed, the goalies were done for the day. The drill added a second defenseman, but was still a basic retrieval/outlet drill. After a couple times through, a coach was added to serve as a forechecker. They'd close out things with some slapshot and one-timer drills from the blueline.
Olli Maatta continued to impress. Skating still looks great. Slapshot is good, but takes a bit to get it away. His release on the one-timer is really good though; gets that off really quickly. Nick D'Agostino's shot was noticeable as well.
Follow me on Twitter @LGP_netwolf for observations during the scrimmage and check back here tomorrow for a recap.
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