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Penguins Report: 2011 Training Camp Opens

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Players injury and status updates (10:36 AM).
  • Coach Bylsma clarifies the injuries situation (1:10 PM).
  • The lowdown on Crosby’s sitch (11:40 AM).
  • The deets on Malkin and Jeffrey (2:18 PM).
  • A look at the Pens day from –SK (6:02 PM).
  • Crosby talks about himself (10:41 AM).
  • 4 Preseason games to be displayed on your television set (3:51 PM). 
  • Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma (1:25 PM).
  • Malkin and Cooke speak to microphones (2:02 PM).
  • Words of wisdom from Jeffrey, Lovejoy and Engelland (11:32 AM).
  • Neal, Martin, Kunitz, Dupuis, Park are the new Fab 5 (3:57 PM)
  • Staal and Kennedy chat up PensTV (5:10 PM). 
  • Michalek, Despres and Tangradi spit knowledge (12:42 PM).
  • Every NHL season has a story (7:30 AM).
  • Twitter sphere will never be the same #boom (10:54 AM).
  • This weekend’s open practices will be live streamed so you can watch from the Moon (4:24 PM).
  • Pretty pics (12:15 PM).
  • Wonderful pics (1:36 PM).
  • Precious pics (3:24 PM).
  • Pretty, wonderful, precious pics (5:52 PM).
  • Creepin’ on Staal (12:50 PM).
  • My mind is open wide. Now I'm ready to start (7:30 AM).

6:02 PM:
The day has come to a close. Click below and watch this Steve Mears impersonator give you a glimpse of what transpired Friday on a busy day for the players.

5:52 PM:
For a round-up of Friday's pics, click here for our photo gallery.

5:10 PM:
PensTV chatted up Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy:



4:24 PM:
Another programming note for Saturday's open practice, it will be streamed live on The practice starts at 9 am. Make sure you stop by and watch the first ice hockey practice of the season. If you don't you'll be visited by 10 plagues. Don't believe me? Try it... (hope you like locusts).

3:57 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room IV, or is it V? or VI? Whatever.

James Neal

On starting training camp:
It's exciting, kind of like a little fresh start here in Pittsburgh. I'm excited to get the season going.

On his position and possibly being on a line with Sidney Crosby:
I got to skate with him here at the start before camp. You know how good he is and what he does on the ice, it’s unbelievable. It would definitely be an unbelievable chance to be able to play with him and hopefully we can do well together.

On whether he is prepared to play right wing:
I'm prepared to be playing on my off wing. I'm just excited to get going. Just coming in, I'm not new to everything now. I know what to expect and I know what to do.

On training with Gary Roberts:
I've been training with Gary for a while now. He cares about the guys he trains and it's so hockey specific. He's been around the game for so long. He knows what to put you through and get you ready to perform on the ice.

On how he felt last spring:
It was frustrating at times. Everything was new to me just with the whole thing coming in here just with being traded and everything; it was just a big change. I wouldn't say disappointing. Obviously it was tough to go into Game 7 and lose when we had a bit of a stranglehold on the serie. But last year but we did some good things, so hopefully it gets us a little hungrier for the season. I definitely don't think by any means we’re disappointed with that effort.

On his goals for himself this season:
I want to come in here, score goals and help the team win. It was tough finding the back of the net, but it's just kind of a buildup for this year to give myself a fresh start. I had a good summer.

Paul Martin

On how he feels this training camp compared to last year:
I feel a lot better, it's an extra year under your belt. You’re a lot more comfortable and know what's expected with things like tests and you know what's going with systems. You get along a lot better with the guys, so it's good.

On playing without Sidney Crosby:
We just focus on what we can do and who we have in the locker room. Obviously we'd love for him to be ready as soon as possible. Even towards the end of last year when he was out we never really, not that we know he's out, but we have to work with the guys that we have in here and move forward and a lot of guys stepped up and had some progress and did a good job for us while he was out.

On playing with Zbynek Michalek:
It did take a while last year to get used to each other. Now I think that when you play that many games together you start to get familiar with where everyone is going to be and where your partner's going to be, and it makes it a lot easier.

On the competition for the last defensive spots:
We've skated with the guys for the last week or so and with the guys that we already have here. It is going to be tough. A lot of the news guys are itching and fighting for spots so it's always a competition and it's sort of encouraged. But we do have a good team core and I'm sure we'll see a lot of the same faces that we saw at the end of last year.

On that core’s confidence heading into the season:
We have guys that have all played and know how to play the game and know the system, and that definitely helps. We'll definitely take the group that we have and hopefully on more that the new guys are ready to go.

Pascal Dupuis

On how much headshots have been brought to the forefront:
All the players are stepping forward to take headshots out of the game right now and hopefully that will show in the pre-season and when the season starts as well.

On the level of competition at this year’s camp:
I think it's healthy when you have so many good players on the team. It's always good when you push each other. You always want the best out of everybody.

On his favorite part of training camp:
Right now is my favorite part, where testing and medicals are done and it's time to hit the ice, run the puck and play some hockey. The guys are all ready. It's 2011 – guys are coming in great shape. The young guys and old guys know what it takes to play. Even the young guys that are coming in have been working out for 10 years at least. That's the way guys come into training camp. You don't come in here to get in shape, you come in here in great shape and it shows right there when you jump on the ice and everybody's ready.

Chris Kunitz

On his position this season:
We haven't really talked about it yet. Just that net front presence, if you can be around the net looking for rebounds. It's kind of cliché, but if the puck goes there and no one's at the net, it's tough to score on a goalie from 90 feet from the net.

On seeing the rest of the team:
It feels good. We keep up with each other through text message and calls. It's nice to see the guys come out and see the guys around. We've been here all week and had twenty-some guys out there skating and practicing skating, so I think it's good to have everybody around. We're all excited to get past camp and get some of these games underway.

On former teammate Teemu Selanne:
It's exciting for the NHL to have a player of his caliber to still be able to play. He's such a great teammate when you’re with him. He really can shock the younger guys and show them how much fun a veteran guy has at his level and at his age in the game to still be playing when he's achieved almost everything. For him to just go and play for the love of the game it's something that a lot of guys can admire. He's fun to watch everywhere; he's a guy that you like to be around. He's a fun guy just to talk to. He's kind of got a lot of tough stories about all the places that he's been. He's a really good human being. He's a true professional, but he also has fun. He has a smile on his face, doesn't matter if you lose or win or he has a hat trick. He a guy who definitely brings his personality to the rink and I think his teammates definitely benefit from that. 

On Atlanta moving to Winnipeg:
I think it's different any time a team moves venues. Maybe the teams in those divisions have to travel a little bit farther, but I think Winnipeg brings a lot to the NHL. It’s a different fanbase then Atlanta, but also a lot of excitement. I'm happy for those people in the Winnipeg area that get to experience hockey again.

On the death of Ruslan Salei:
It's obviously crushing, someone that you played with and you went to the rink with. It's unfortunate. He's got a wife and three young daughters, it's something that you can't really describe how you feel or what you think they might be going through. It's just something that's an awful event.

Richard Park

On being back in Pittsburgh:
It feels good, obviously. It's a great opportunity for myself. I find it a privilege to play amongst these guys and proven winners and I look forward to the opportunity.

On whether he has been guaranteed anything:
Nothing's guaranteed. I don't care really who you are, there's no guarantees about anything. I've never even looked at things like that. You always have to go out and prove yourself. Not necessarily to anyone in particular, but most importantly to yourself. Go out there and put yourself in the best position to succeed.

On his personal goals for the season:
This is a great opportunity where not only you challenge yourself individually, but among that if things work out you give yourself a chance to succeed. You join a team that is in the upper echelon on the league, so it’s a great opportunity.

On the comparing the franchise now and before:
The one common thing is that since I've known Pittsburgh, they've always had winners here. Mario (Lemieux), Ronnie Francis, and Jaromir (Jagr) and those guys when I was here originally, now you look around and it's obviously Crosby, Malkin, Staal. I could sit here and mention all the young guys, but they've got a great young core group of players. They win. There’s certain organizations just go out and win and Pittsburgh's one of those organizations.

Hat Trick: Kaitlin Zurawsky

3:51 PM:
Four of the Pens preseason games will be airing on TV. The first three, all home games (Sept. 21 vs. Det; Sept. 22 vs. Chi; Sept. 24 vs. Minn), will be on ROOT Sports. The final games (Oct. 2 at Detroit) will be on PCNC.

More details here.

3:24 PM:
More precious pictures...

HC Dan Bylsma pointing (left); Asst coach Todd Reirden writes down important information (right)

Ryan Craig and WBS strength coach Joe Lorincz share cooking tips (left); Zach Sill racing hard in the on-ice testing (right)

Pens officials huddle up to conspire. They appear pleased with the test results.

Joseph Morrow glides along (left); Even the goalies have to sprint. Brad Thiessen lugs down the ice  (right)

2:18 PM:
Michelle Crechiolo has more details on Malkin (here) and Jeffrey (here).

2:02 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room III...

Evgeni Malkin

On how he feels:
I feel good. I had a good summer. I worked with Mike Kadar for a couple of weeks and I’m in pretty good shape.

On if this is the most determined he’s ever felt coming into camp:
I feel good when I come to start training camp and go through the testing. I feel pretty comfortable and my knee, it’s all right.

On if he has any specific goals in mind for himself this season:
I’m trying to help the team win every game. Of course I’m trying to score. It’s my game, to score every game and help the team.

On if there was any chance that he could have played last year if the team went further in the playoffs:
It’s hard to say now. I tried and the team played good, but my knee last year was really sore and I couldn’t come back soon. I wasn’t at 100 percent. Who knows if I would have been ready or not last year. I think no.

On his play three years ago when Sidney Crosby was sidelined for a long period of time:
Yeah, I’m going to try to play at the same level I played at three years before. We hope Sid comes back and begins the season with us. We’re a good team and we have 25 good players, not just me. We have Staalsy and Flower. I’m just going to try to play 100 percent.

On if he will be ready to go for the start of camp:
I start today. I’m ready.

On how big of a priority the power play will be this camp:
I think we’ll play the same guys. Me, Sid, maybe (James Neal). We have a couple options. We play the same system. Nothing changed.

On if he likes having four forwards on the power play:
Sometimes it’s tough because sometimes we have four forwards and all four forwards look to score goals. When you have one defenseman, maybe two, I don’t know. We’ll see how it works in practice.

On if he has any lingering soreness in his knee:
It’s all gone. My knee is 90 percent ready. But we have time. It’s 20 more days till the start of the season.

On how hard he’s pushed himself with the knee:
This is the first time I’ve had a big injury with my knee. But it’s hockey. All guys have injuries and have surgeries. But I had a good summer and I think I’m ready.

On if he will play with a brace on the knee:
Yeah, yeah. The first time it feels maybe three or four months, you play with a brace. It’s pretty comfortable. It’s not a big problem for me.

Matt Cooke

On his mindset going into training camp:
Obviously you want to get out there even if your season ends in a situation where you expected more, it's a huge disappointment and it makes for a long offseason. I think we have a great opportunity this year. When everyone's healthy, we're going to be a force. We've proven last year that even when guys aren't in the lineup that we can win games, and we fully intend to do that.

On his mentality:
I've made some changes and I can sit here and talk to you about it all until I'm blue in the face, but it's my job to go out and prove it and I'm prepared to do that.

On if this still feels like the same team:
We lost some guys that had played key roles in Max (Talbot) and (Mike Rupp). For the most part, the core guys are still here. I think that it’s part of the hockey world. The changes are inevitable. Good for those guys to be able to go out and earn their due. But we can’t really focus on that now. We have to worry about moving forward. We’re excited about the guys that we picked up and think they can come in and help our club.

On if this is the year the NHL cracks down on headshots:
I’ll leave that up to the league. They’ve done a great job and there’s new people involved working at the league and making decisions. What the league does, they’ve done a great job with changing with the times and making new rules to clarify the play for guys. I support what they do.

On if he was in contact with Sidney Crosby over the summer:
We stay in contact throughout the summer. I didn’t know a day-to-day update, I didn’t need to know a week-to-week update. I just wanted to make sure he was doing ok. As a friend, you want them to be better for their health, not selfishly for ‘we need him on our team’ (reasons). His health was first. He knows that. That’s how we’ve supported him through what he had to get through to get back to a level where he can start training and trying to push himself.

Assist: Michelle Crechiolo

1:36 PM:
More pics for your eyeballs.

Cooke (left) and Michalek (right) are under seige by media

Tyler Kennedy has two tickets to the gun show. Any takers?

This lady explains to Deryk Engelland how to throw a ball (left); Engelland ball throw = Success (right).

New/old Pen Richard Park with the ghost of Alain Nasreddine lurking (left): OMGeno!!! (right).

1:25 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…

On how Crosby will be used in camp:
We have three lines on each practice team of A, B and C. One of those teams is not participating in the scrimmage each day. So he will be on that team every day. We will have enough forwards on the ice so if there is a certain aspect of what we’re doing that he will not be participating in, we will have three forward lines on that team. He’ll be a part of that team that doesn’t scrimmage, and a lot of what we do on the ice will be what he feels comfortable doing. He’ll be at the same pace and tempo as the other guys. Some of the contact drills he may not participate in.

On the power play:
If you think there is more importance this year on the power play than others, that’s not the case. Special teams is the key to every game you play at every level. We treat it as such. If we were the best penalty killing team last year, we’re not that right now. We have to build that and understand what we’re doing. Same thing for the power play. If we were the best or 15th or 21st, we’re treating this as a key to every game, an area we have to pay close attention to, an area that we have to be good at. That’s the way it will be approached. We’ll have different things that we’ll do this year to utilize our strengths and our personnel better, and have different looks in terms of personnel that is on the power play. That will be a focus this year, last year, next year, coming into training camp.

On having Crosby at least on the ice:
For a number of days he’s been on the ice with his teammates. The majority of them have been here working out as a group and on their own. They’ve been out there with him. It won’t be the first time he’s on the ice with his teammates. In terms of seeing Sidney Crosby on the ice in that jersey and at practice, it’s always good to see that. He’ll be out there with his teammates participating.

On if there is any expectation for when he’ll be ready:
There is not a realistic expectation. There’s no prediction, no idea of a prediction. It’s not really something we talk about in terms of putting a prediction or timeline on it. He’s doing well. He’s doing better. You see him on the ice participating. You’re going to see a guy that looks like Sidney Crosby on the ice. He’s a talented player and you can see it when he’s on the ice. That’s a positive thing. We aren’t able and aren’t trying to put any timeline or expectation on when the next step might be.

On Malkin’s knee being 90 percent:
He didn’t tell me 90 percent. He said, ‘I’m good coach.’ He’s good. He’s worked really hard and really diligently. I think part of the process right now for Geno is that this will be a level that you don’t get in the office. He’s worked really hard and diligent, but he’ll be taxed everyday now with contact and people around him. It still has to go through that. It’s different than a guy that hasn’t had his injury. I think he feels good. He looks confident. I’m not sure I’ve seen a guy that’s been this confident both on the ice, off the ice, with his teammates, with his surroundings. I’m really excited to go through training camp and get him ready for the start of the season. I think he’s a motivated guy right now.

On Malkin’s importance to the team:
Last year we had success without Geno and Sid. From the potential of our ability to score goals is greatly enhanced when you have a guy like Evgeni Malkin step on the ice. He can take over a play, take over a power play, and has shown he can be a leader in that regard for a team. He’s done that in the past. He wasn’t particularly with his season last season. I think he was motivated to come back and be a factor for our team in the playoffs last year. When you watch hockey games and say, ‘If I can get in there we can be a really good team.’ That was his motivation and it’s been his motivation this summer. He’s been focused and attentive to getting ready for the season and rehabbing from his injury. With him in our lineup, the dynamic changes dramatically for matchups, defensive pairings, power play, in addition to us being a more dangerous team on the offensive side of things.

1:10 PM:
Injury updates from coach Bylsma...

"Brooks Orpik is cleared to practice and we'll see as he goes along the level he's comfortable with. He hasn't really put together days where he's been in contact and in the bustle of practice. We'll see as he goes along, but he'll be out there participating.

"Craig Adams is further along. He's almost at a full go. He will be participating as well.

"Dustin Jeffrey is similar to Sidney. He's cleared for practice, but not for contact. That's a pretty positive thing for him in the last couple of weeks. It's been good. We'll see him on the ice as well.

"Boris Valabik is in a rehab situation. He will not be on the ice to start camp. Knee injury.

"Robert Bortuzzo, I don't have a specific word on him. He's not participating. He's in a rehab mode right now on his injury."

12:50 PM:
Out of boredom I stalked Jordan Staal for a bit.

See Staal squat

See Staal throw a medicine ball

See Staal talk to the media

(to see Staal pose for headshots scroll to 12:15 PM).

12:42 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room II.

Zybenek Michalek

On Jagr:
I was kind of hoping that he was gonna end up here in Pittsburgh and he had to do what's best for him. Playing at the World Championships and the Olympics, he played really well for our team and I thought he could help our team, but in the end, for whatever reason, he didn't choose our team and that's his decision.
I only saw him at the World Championships and after that I didn't even talk to him. At the time of the World Championships I didn't know there was a chance he might come back to the NHL, so I didn't talk to him about it.
I was surprised because there was always speculation about us or Montreal or maybe some other team, but he ended up with Philly. So I was surprised because of what he did here with our organization and he went to our biggest rival. But like I said, it's only his decision and we'll see how it's gonna work out.

On the difference between last season and this season:
It's like night and day right now. It's nice to be a part of the same team, first day coming in here knowing where I'm going, what people I'm gonna see, it makes it so much easier for myself. I'm coming in here with everybody and the system here makes it easier for me to get back into things and hopefully I can pick up where I left off and have a good season with the Penguins.

On building his teamwork with Martin:
Especially the second half of the season and the playoffs, I think we did a really good job and obviously we're gonna start from where we left off. We play well together, but that doesn't mean you're gonna play again together this year. There's a lot of guys here in the camp that want to make this team and it's up to the coaches to decide the pairings and gonna playing and who's not. If I end up with Paul I'll be happy to just do whatever we did last year to help the team.

On the position of the Penguins:
I think that the coaching staff does a really good job of studying the other team. Our defense has been, last year, the reason why we do so well after all these injuries, so we go out and make sure that we play the same way, and defense is huge.

On the competition within the team:
It seems like every year it is getting tougher and tougher. Some of the guys coming up and work with them and they are actually well conditioned. It seems like now the young guys, they work hard in the summer. There are other guys waiting and they are hungry. We gotta make sure that we come from day one prepared and we show our best because these guys are ready and there's gonna be battles for these spots for sure.

Simon Despres

On how he feels about getting started again:
I feel excited about getting started and can't wait to jump on the ice with the other players.

On what he has been working on in the offseason:
Training, conditioning, getting leaner, getting stronger, getting faster.

On what he is expecting with the pro game:
I'm expecting the best players out there. It's the best league in the world and I'll do my best to keep up.

On the difference between this training camp and others:
You know this year, I'm pro, but I think it's as with all the other years, I'll take it one day at a time, don't wanna think too far ahead and try to do my best this year.

On the competition to make the NHL roster:
It's a tough year having competition like that. It pushes you harder and I'll try to work together with guys on defense.

On how he's grown since being drafted:
At that age you grow a lot in maturity in your body, so I think I'm steps ahead.

On whether defense or offense is harder :
I think offense is more of a confidence issue, but you're always tested on can you be good offensively if you're not good defensively, so focus on defense first.

Eric Tangradi

On his position within the team:
To be honest I'm not expecting anything. I'm going in with an attitude and mindset that whatever opportunity I'm given, I'm gonna fly with it. It they need me to be a fourth line grinder or a power-play guy, I can play all these roles. Whatever opportunity I'm put in, I'm willing to work with.

On concussions:
A concussion is one of those things that is so hard to explain. With the technology that we have today it's still an illness that people are having a hard time discovering and learning about, so it's something that you need to experience to really understand it. Some mornings you wake up and feel like everything is great and then you go to sleep at night and it's a completely different world. It's something you have to be patient with. You just need to trust the doctors and trust yourself because your health is more important than any other thing you do with yourself.

If she was scared, she would: Kaitlin Zurawsky

12:15 PM:
The Pens reported Friday for medical and fitness testing, but that wasn't all the players had to do. Their morning was also spent taking their head shots as well as the scoreboard video shots (you know the ones where the guys have to look tough and not crack a smile). Here are some pictures for your two eyes.

Picture head shots! Look at the girl in the background. She couldn't be more bored right now. Kris Letang (right) getting his photo taken.

Deryk Engelland's turn!

(Video Headshots <-----) and TK poses for the green screen

Staal gets prepped by Mike "the Bull" Davenport.

Staal with his "serious" look on the left. Staal with his "slightly more serious" look on the right. 

11:40 AM:
Here are the full deets on Crosby.

11:32 AM:
Lots of sounds heard around the locker room. Starting with you, Dustin Jeffrey.

Dustin Jeffrey

An update on his knee:
It's feeling really well and obviously we're quite a long way aways from where we were last season, but coming into camp here I hope that I'll just be fully right off the start anyways. It's just a matter of seeing the doctor and coming back to the trainers and hopefully see what will happen. Maybe I'll be able to go in a full practice.

On his participation in practices:
I think that's what the plan is. I think I'm gonna be open for the practice parts of training camp, but I don't think it's a go ahead for scrimmages yet, I should be participating almost fully in practices.

On training camp helping to get him ready physically:
I think you have to introduce contact and stuff and obviously I haven't done that yet, so I think this is going to be the last step before I'm fully ready to go.

His thoughts on this being a competitive training camp:
I think it happens every year. Over the last 2 or 3 years, you know last year they brought in Asham and Comrie at the end of training camp and it's just something they do here to breed competition. The success that we've had as a team, it's proven that this works. It makes everybody better, it makes guys hog the roster spots, work hard to keep them and it make the guys pushing from Wilkes-Barre or free agents too, it makes you prove that you have to bring your A-game to hopefully get a roster spot.

On confidence issues due to injury:
I think that's part of coming back and introducing contact. I've had this injury before, so I know what to expect of it. I think my rehab's gone really well so I don't think that there's going to be any confidence issues. I think it's a matter of getting into contact and getting used to it, but confidence, no, I think that I'm going to be very confident.
On whether there have been discussions about his position:
No, the conversations right now is mostly about getting back, is about rehabbing and making sure I'm ready, I'm not trying to rush it and try to get back at the start of training camp. I think they've been really good with me to make sure I'm ready, make sure I'm not trying to force the issue, trying to just get back to just compete on the first day of training camp.

On whether he has thought about different scenarios and what line he'll be on:
Not right now, I think once you get more into training camp something like that will happen, but right now I'm just worried about trying to get back. You know I spent all summer rehabbing and I think the last week. week and a half, to really push the rehab part of it. When I'm done with the rehab I'll start worrying about where I'm gonna slide in.

Deryk Engelland

On the transition from summer into the season:
It was a great summer, a little long, it went by pretty quick, but it's great to get back into the mix of things and get going with another season.

On getting back on the ice at CONSOL Energy Center and hearing the fans again:
It's a great atmosphere out there, it's a lot of fun at camp and see all the guys again, get out there and get out of the summer routine. I'm looking forward to it and can't wait to start.

On his mindset this year compared to last:
I feel a little bit better. There's a lot of competition there and you still gotta bring your A-game everyday and it's tough positions to get.

Ben Lovejoy

On the summer and his training sessions and how he feels about today:
This day's always fun. Guys come back and we're excited to get started. You never know how your scores are going to be, but things run very well. I've been back in town for 4 or 5 weeks now skating and I'm in very good shape, so I'm excited.

On getting back on the ice tomorrow with the fans:
It's exciting, it's going to be the first day on the ice with everybody, so everybody's going to be flying. If it's anything like last year there will be a ton of people in the crowd watching and planning the team in their minds and hopefully envisioning good things to come.

Rookette: Kaitlin Zurawsky

10:54 AM:
Random programming note for our faithful followers at home and around the universe.

We are expanding into the Twitter sphere. Michelle Crechiolo and myself will be tweeting the latest comments and news on the team from @PensInsideScoop. And Pens director of communications, Jen Bullano, will be tweeting from @PensPRLady to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the team.

Personally, I think the internet is a fad. But I could be #wrong. Happy tweeting.

10:41 AM:
Here are Crosby's comments

On what, if anything, he’ll be able to do this camp:
I’m cleared to practice without contact. That’s good news for me. I’m excited to get going.

On if that’s what he was doing late last season:
I think practices at the end of last season are probably a little bit lighter than what camp is going to be. I’m pretty happy with the way things have gone this past week or so. Exertion has been pretty high. That’s where I’m at right now.

On what point he will be tested:
I think camp will be a pretty good indication. It’s going to be pretty intense. Even without contact, I’m sure it’s going to be a pretty good pace. I’ll see how things go then.

On if he’s pushed himself to 90 percent recently:
I don’t want to put a percentage on it. It’s hard to say what I’ve actually gone to. But I feel like I’ve done pretty good tests of exertion at different points and responded pretty well. I think the main thing is that I feel pretty comfortable and confident with where I’m at heading into camp here.

Sidney Crosby answers media questions about fishing.
On if this camp is more special for him because of what he went through last year:
I’m just excited to get out there. I don’t know about special. I think I’m just excited to be with the guys and practice with the team and prepare and go through all of the fun stuff of being a hockey player. As challenging as it is, as tough as it is, that’s why you play the game, is to go through this process. So I’m happy to be a part of it, but I know I also have some work to do. So I’m kind of keeping all of those things in mind. I’m just excited to get going.

On what specific work he has to do:
I think just getting in shape, making sure I respond well to the exertion, all of those things. You don’t want to be evaluating yourself every minute out there. You want to go out there and try to do the things you normally do and see how things go. That being said, if everything is going well, you’ve got to use that time to get ready and get back in shape and timing and all of that stuff. It’s been a long time since I’ve been out there with a group and it’s been intense, so I’m just looking forward to getting out there and doing that.

On if any part of his game will get better right away upon returning because of the work he did off the ice:
I don’t think so. I mean, it’s pretty hard to be a better stickhandler if you don’t stickhandle for a while. I think that that stuff is going to come. I think for me, the main thing is the stuff when it comes to feel and timing. Those are the things that you really have to focus on when you’re in camp. Whether that’s coming off an injury or just coming off a normal summer, I think those are the things I’ll just kind of remind myself of. Getting in shape will come. That’s just time. That’s just being out there.

On if there is an expectation or a hope that he could be cleared for contact at some point during camp or if that’s still way off:
I really don’t know. As far as communication with doctors and things like that, I’ve been just kind of waiting to see what’s going to be day 1 of camp and what their feeling was and telling them how I feel. So I haven’t gotten that far. I hope that everything goes well the next little bit and I’m not ruling that out at all. But I think at this point, I’m just kind of worried about this step and just getting through it.

On if we should expect him on the ice with the team each day:
Definitely day 1. I’m not sure about moving forward. I’m not sure what the practice plans are. That’s something I’ll have to talk with the coach about and see. Usually you’re on one team and you do inter-squad and stuff like that, so I’ll just have to see what makes sense for me. As far as our practices and things like that go and what the best thing is to do there.

On if he can scrimmage yet:

More fishing questions, the media is relentless.
On if he has been without headaches for a while:
Yeah, fairly. Whatever symptoms I’ve had have been pretty minimal. To be able to get cleared to do this is good.

On how tough it was this summer with everyone wanting updates:
That’s pretty hard to avoid. That’s just something that’s normal and I expect that. But at the same time, you don’t have answers to questions sometimes. With that, there’s speculation and there’s things that are made up sometimes. I guess having to answer for those things are probably more frustrating than anything. That kind of comes with the territory. I understand that. That’s the way things are. But everyone wants information today and they can get it pretty quickly if they want it. Sometimes with things, there are not always answers right away. That’s kind of basically where I was at for a lot of the summer. There were a lot of things I couldn’t have answers for. So it wasn’t a matter of avoiding anything, it was just a matter of not having an answer. That’s basically what it came down to.

On if he enjoys watching the competition play out at camp:
Yeah, I think it’s great. I think it’s healthy for any team to have that. We lost in the first round last year and guys should be hungry and eager to get out there and compete, but also with jobs available, guys want those spots. So I think that’s a pretty healthy environment and I think everybody benefits from it.

On if he can get a feel for a new guy like James Neal through non-contact drills:
Yeah. I’ve watched him for a few months too. Even though I was watching, I was really trying to make the most of everything and learning from guys. I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of how he plays and I think as a teammate and any guy on the team, you try to learn about your teammates and what their strengths are and how they have success. You don’t ever know what combinations are going to be sometimes, so when you’re put together, you know what to expect and I have a pretty good idea of what he brings.

Now she's ready to start: Michelle Crechiolo

10:36 AM:
OK, lots to update in a hectic first day of talking with all the players and coaches. Here is the least you need to know:
  • Crosby is cleared to practice, but not for contact. He will not be participating in any of the scrimmages as of yet. They'll monitor his progress day-by-day.
  • Malkin said his knee is at 90 percent, but added that he'll be ready. He's wearing a knee brace.
  • Orpik is cleared to practice, but Bylsma said he hasn't been in contact.
  • Adams is almost at a full go according to Bylsma. He will participate in practice.
  • Jeffrey won't participate fully at the start of camp. He'll practice, but won't scrimmage. He is not cleared for contact.
  • Valabik has a knee injury and will not be on the ice for the start of camp.
  • Bortuzzo is not participating in camp. He is in a rehab mode.

7:30 AM:
Entry taken from Training Camp Outlook:

Every NHL season has a story.

Every year fills the fans’ hearts with a smorgasbord of emotions: highs and lows; triumphs and failures; successes and pains; and everything in between.

Every story is unique, equipped with a different cast of characters and all new exciting plot twists.

The Penguins’ 2011-12 season story has yet to be written. But as 55 players descend upon CONSOL Energy Center Friday morning to report for training camp, there is a prologue.

Sidney Crosby’s status entering camp remains uncertain, due to the concussion he suffered in early January. He said it is “likely” that he will play this season, but no one knows when that will occur. The team has made one thing certain, Crosby will not return until he is fully healthy and ready.

Evgeni Malkin hasn’t played a game since Feb. 4 after tearing ligaments in his right knee. However, Malkin has undergone an intensive rehab and conditioning program over the summer. The Russian talent enters training camp with renewed energy and commitment.

Jordan Staal will lace up his skates for the team’s first practice on Saturday. That’s something the 23-year-old center couldn’t do last year as he recovered from an infection in his foot. Coupled with a broken with a broken hand, he missed the first 39 games of the season. But this year, Staal is fully healed and ready to get started.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is looking to build on his NHL MVP-caliber season in 2010-11. With the team’s top three stars missing a combined 119 games (Crosby, 41 games; Malkin, 39; Staal, 39), Fleury shouldered the heavy burden and carried the team for half the year. “Flower” finished the season with a 36-20-5 record, 2.32 goals-against average and .918 save percentage en route to being named team MVP.

The Penguins roster underwent some changes over the summer with the departures of Max Talbot, Mike Rupp, Chris Conner, Mike Comrie, Eric Godard and Alex Kovalev and the acquisitions of Steve Sullivan, Alexandre Picard, Steve MacIntyre, Jason Williams and Richard Park.

With the Penguins new additions and burgeoning young prospects, the team is stacked with depth at forward and defense. Competition should be pretty fierce for the next few weeks of camp. Fifty-five players will be fighting for 23 spots and the right to wear the Penguins sweater when the team opens the regular season at defending Western Conference champion Vancouver Oct. 6.

There are many questions entering this season. And the answers will come as the year unfolds and the pages turn.

Training camp is the first chapter of the Penguins’ 2011-12 season. Currently this season is a blank page. It is up to the Penguins to write the story. The pen is in their hands.

The time has come to make the first blemish on the empty pages.

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