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Inside Penguins Adult Fantasy Camp

by Joe Sager / Pittsburgh Penguins
PittsburghPenguins.com writer Joe Sager is participating in the Penguins Adult Fantasy Camp. Sager, a goaltender, will give on-site updates and special insight as to what playing in the camp is like through an exclusive blog found only on PittsburghPenguins.com.
Joe Sager

Check back for more updates.

SATURDAY

12:36 p.m. – I’m in the pressbox waiting for the Pens-Kings game. Yes, I did wake up and am alive. A little sore, but surprisingly not too bad. All those lunchtime skates paid off.

I am looking forward to our game tonight. But, first – Pens need a big win. Kings may have the fewest points in the NHL, but they’ve been hot lately and have a lot of pretty good young players. Pens have been on fire, too, so we’ll see.

1:55 p.m. – During the first intermission of the Pens-Kings game, Penguins announcer Mike Lange came over and gave me a few words of wisdom for tonight’s game. He told me to be “leather tough and panther quick.” Those are the words of advice he gave to Dunc Wilson when he was in net for the Penguins.

So, I’ll follow his advice – hey, when a Hall of Famer speaks, you listen – and we’ll see how it goes.


 

9:49 p.m. – I just got home. We went 0-2 on the day. Thank you, come again.

We had a 2-0 lead in the consolation game, but our guys just ran out of gas. It was a lot of hockey in a two-day span for many of these guys who don’t play regularly. Not much defense was played, but that’s to be expected in a tournament like this. But, overall, it was definitely a good experience. 

Mario Lemieux stood at the Zamboni entrance during our last game to watch his friends on the team. Guess who was in goal right in front of him – yeah, that’s right, yours truly. Talk about pressure – try playing in front of your boss.

There was a pretty decent crowd at Mellon Arena, too, so kudos to those people for coming out to watch. 

I want to thank my teammates for allowing me to join them on the squad. They’re a cool group of guys and they had a lot of fun. Some of them came from far away, like Texas, Montreal and Louisiana to take part. I know they enjoyed themselves.

I want to thank our head coach Paul Taibi, who doubles as the Mount Lebanon High School coach. Good luck to his Blue Devils this year. Hopefully, I will cover them when they come to Mellon Arena for the Penguins Cup playoffs. 

Well, that’s it for the blog. Thanks for checking in and following my progress. If you get a chance, come out to watch next year’s Penguins Adult Fantasy Camp or sign up to play in it.

Keep checking out PittsburghPenguins.com for all my Penguins coverage.

FRIDAY

6:45 a.m. – Alarm goes off, out of bed. It’s tough to open my eyes, especially after a late night last night with the Pens’ home game.

7:15 a.m. – Packed up all my gear and am on the road. I see we got a covering of snow.

8 a.m. – Arrived at the rink and am ready to check in and head to the locker room. 

1 p.m. – What a hectic afternoon. My team went through a series of drills during a practice session. We followed that up with a full-ice scrimmage against another team featuring former Penguin Dennis Owchar. We won, of course. What did you expect? 

My team is great. It seems like half of them are from Montreal, including Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury’s father, Andre. In addition, one of Mario Lemieux’s relatives is on our team. It seems our official team language is French. And, I swear they are all making fun of me since they talk, laugh and look at me. Or maybe I am just paranoid?

Mario and his son made an appearance on the bench during our scrimmage. 

Luc Robitaille is at the Fantasy Camp as a special guest. He watched us scrimmage a little bit and even told me I had a couple nice saves, so that was cool.

Following the scrimmage, we had another practice session. We finished that session with a penalty shot competition. I stopped Marc Bergevin once, but he got me a couple times. 

Then, it was lunchtime. I went around interviewing the former Penguins and the coaches of the teams for a PensTV segment.

OK time to grab some Pizza Hut pizza before we take the ice at 2 p.m. for the tournament’s first games. It’s going to be a busy night and I am already feeling it.

5:35 p.m. – Wow, just got done playing three-straight games. Yeah, you guessed it, back-to-back-to-back games. We finished the day with a 1-1-1 record. Should have been 2-1, but we’ll take the extra point. I think that puts us in either second or third place heading into the semifinals Saturday at Mellon Arena. 

Our other goaltender got hurt during the morning drills, so I was THE man. Fortunately, the wife of one of my teammates also plays goaltender, so she put on the injured guy’s gear and played the second period of our second game. It gave my feet a chance to rest, so I was happy.

Well, I need to go shower and drink about 100 gallons of water since I can feel my legs cramping up. 


 

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