Inside Scoop: 2019 training camp (Day 1)by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Penguins
Thoughts, musings and observations from Day 1 of training camp…
Perhaps the biggest question for the Penguins heading into training camp is how the forward combinations will eventually shake out, particularly the top two lines.
It is only the first day of camp, so a lot shouldn't be read into the combinations the team used, as they will likely utilize a lot of different looks over the next few weeks. The three newest Penguins - Dominik Kahun, Alex Galchenyuk and Brandon Tanev - got the first looks with the big three forwards - Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin.
The top two trios for Day 1 were:
Kahun seemed to have some instant chemistry working with Crosby and Guentzel. During an intra-squad scrimmage Kahun gathered a puck along the wall, quickly whipped the puck to Crosby in the slot. From there Crosby made a blind, backhand pass to Guentzel at the side of the net.
Kahun arrived in Pittsburgh via a mid-summer trade, and Crosby already likes what he sees in the second-year NHL winger.
"He's strong on the puck, he's got a good shot, he can see the ice well," Crosby said. "I'm sure there will be a lot of different combinations throughout camp and some new faces, but he's really good out there."
Kahun played last season with the Chicago Blackhawks, so he's played with talented players. But jumping on the ice with a 100-point center and 40-goal winger was a fun moment for the 24-year-old.
"It was a great experience," Kahun said. "I really enjoyed it. We had fun. We did some good stuff in the game.
"They're very good players. They made it easy for me. I just tried to make some plays also for them. It was positive."
Marcus Pettersson skated with his teammates during the month of August and early September without a contract. The restricted free agent and Penguins weren't able to reach an agreement over the summer.
But on the day before training camp began, that all changed.
The two sides came to an agreement on Thursday evening for a one-year, one-way deal worth $874,125. And Pettersson was glad to have the situation behind him.
"The closer camp got you want to get something done and focus on just hockey and not everything else," Pettersson said. "I'm glad we got it done.
"We had a good negotiation. We were on the same page. I was going to be here and prepare. I wanted to make sure I was at least in the U.S. and not in a different time zone when camp starts."
Pettersson and the Penguins hoped to work out a long-term contract. But given the team's salary cap situation, this was the best both sides could agree upon.
"We both wanted something longer done, but the situation is what it is," Pettersson said. "That happens sometimes. The most important thing for me was get ready for camp and at least be here."
The Pens broke the camp roster into three teams. Two of the teams - headlined by Crosby (Team 1) and Malkin (Team 2) - scrimmaged on Friday.
Team 1 struck first when Crosby made a slick backhand pass to Guentzel at the side of the net. Guentzel had the easy tap-in. Malkin tied the game when he pounced on a blue line turnover, carried the puck on goal for a breakaway and went top corner.
Team 2 took the lead with a penalty shot score by Teddy Blueger after a nice deke move. Tanev's empty-netter sealed the game for a 3-1 victory for Team 2.