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Crash the Net - Pens Q&A

by Bob Grove / Pittsburgh Penguins
Crash the Net is a weekly web Q&A on Click here to submit a question.

QUESTION: Do you think that Georges Laraque is worth his salary, and is playing him taking away from the development of a younger 4th-line style player?

-Marm in Sharpsburg, PA

Georges Laraque
There's no question Laraque, who will earn $1.3 million this season, is going to have to show Michel Therrien and the coaching staff a lot more than he did last spring to earn regular playing time. If he could take the body with more regularity, avoid bad penalties and drop the gloves only when it needs to be done, there could be a place for him in the lineup.

As far as Laraque taking away playing time from young prospects as a fourth-line right winger. . . those prospects have to show they deserve it more than he does. Sure, any youngster trying to earn that spot will have to fight an uphill battle against a veteran with a one-way contract. But if the Penguins are not convinced he's helping them, there's nothing to stop them from trading Laraque or reassigning him with the hope another team will pick him up on waivers. You don't give roster spots to players based primarily on their age; they have to belong.

Right now, the standout right wing candidate among the young players is probably Jonathan Filewich, and he's not a fourth-line player. So Laraque's status doesn't really affect him.

QUESTION: At the end of last season the Penguins carried 26 players on their roster. How many players do you think they will carry this season?
-Tim in North Haledon, NJ

BOB GROVE: The NHL roster limit under terms of the CBA is 23. After the trading deadline, a team may carry an unlimited number of players on its active roster.

QUESTION: Is there a schedule yet for training camp?  Are there going to be sessions open to the public?  
-Tim in West Mifflin

BOB GROVE: The Penguins will conduct physicals and testing on the first day of camp, Sept. 13. The following three days, Sept. 14-16, camp will be open to the public at Southpointe. Pittsburgh's first two preseason games are Sept. 17-18 in Montreal, after which there will be two days of workouts at the Arena before a Sept. 21 game in Detroit and a Sept. 22 home game against the Wings. Then it's off to West Point for another three-day team-building session, and then a return home for a weekend home-and-home exhibition series with Buffalo, beginning Sept. 28 here. So there's only a few Arena workouts for the full camp, and those will not be open to the public.

QUESTION: I just wanted to know if the Penguins are keeping the jersey and logo the same or are they going to make changes like some of the other teams who have already released their uniform designs?
-Matthew in Butler

BOB GROVE: The mail just continues to stream in about the Penguins' new Reebok Edge uniforms. Look for the Penguins to unveil the new uniforms prior to the start of camp. But to reiterate: no new logo. There are no major changes to the uniforms, no changes requested by the team. The slight modifications to the uniforms will be the same as those made to the uniforms of every team. While some other NHL teams (including Washington, San Jose and Ottawa) are making logo changes, the Penguins are not.

QUESTION: I was wondering if Sidney Crosby's new found wealth and new clothing line,and all these off-ice endorsements will have a negative impact on his play on the ice this year?
-Trevor in Ottawa, Canada

BOB GROVE: No need to worry about Sidney Crosby. No one on the team is more focused, and he's not about to let off-ice projects or income blur his vision of winning. He's had endorsement contracts for years now, so even with his new Reebok clothing line it's pretty much business as usual for Sid. By the way, as it stands right now, Crosby will the 15th-highest paid player on the team this season in terms of base salary.

Crash the Net is a weekly web Q&A on Click here to submit a question.
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