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Penguins Report: First Camp Practice (2014)

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins


--Sam Kasan, Michelle Crechiolo & Joey Sykes

When defenseman Olli Maatta took the ice for practice this morning, he blended right in with his teammates – which is a good thing.
Head coach Mike Johnston said Thursday that Maatta would be wearing a red limited-contact jersey for today’s on-ice session, but instead the defenseman donned a regular white jersey for the skate and stayed on the ice for the entire practice.
“I’m not cleared yet to play, but I took a new step last Wednesday – the doctor cleared me for a little bit (of contact),” Maatta said. “We’re going step-by-step. It’s a big step again towards playing, and I’m happy.”
Maatta underwent shoulder labral repair surgery on May 22, with a projected recovery time of 4-6 months. And while his rehab is actually slightly ahead of schedule as of now, Maatta is being careful not to get ahead of himself.
“Shoulder’s feeling good. It’s getting better,” he said. “When I got the surgery, I wouldn’t have thought it would be this good. It actually hasn’t bothered as much as I was expecting to, and I had a pretty good summer even though I had the sling on for two months.
 “I’ve been a little bit ahead (of schedule). But with this, I don’t want to rush it. You want to make sure it’s fully repaired when I get back. I’d rather miss a couple games now then miss another four months and hurt it again.”

--Michelle Crechiolo


Craig Adams

Steve Downie

Robert Bortuzzo

--Sam Kasan

Penguins head coach Mike Johnston chatted with the media following the first day of on-ice practice with his team. Here are some notable takeaways…
  • In today’s practice the coaches wanted to work on the systems and structure, get tempo and pace into practice and finally, invoke competition among the players.
  • When coaches are on the ice, 80 percent of practice is laying the foundation as to how they want the team to play and 20 percent evaluation. The coaches will talk later about who stood out and who didn't look sharp, but overall the first three practices are for laying a framework for how the team will play.
  • On Saturday, the team will practice for 45 minutes before having a controlled scrimmage to work on a few things.
  • On Sunday, the team will work on special teams.
  • Johnston wants the defensemen to join the rush and be active at all times.

--Sam Kasan


Hornqvist at his first Pens' practice

Ehrhoff showing off some fancy footwork

Puck battle

Line change

Maatta was supposed to wear a red limited contact jersey, but was all contact today

The new guys listening intently

Sutter with a fancy flick of the wrist

Downie eyes up a puck for a beating

Beau knows training camp

Paul Wall going with the red goat

Fleury back in his home

The boys listen to coach's instructions

--Sam Kasan, Michelle Crechiolo & Joey Sykes

The Team B squad did the same drills as the Team A (see below). Here is who worked with whom (for what it's worth) during the practice session.



--Sam Kasan & Michelle Crechiolo


The media spoke with Crosby following Team A practice. He gave us an update on his condition.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was expected to be unavailable for the first on-ice practice of training camp Friday morning at CONSOL Energy Center due to an undisclosed injury.

But that plan changed when he met with head athletic trainer Chris Stewart in the morning.

“I talked to ‘Stew’ and he said he was comfortable with me going out there for a little bit,” Crosby said. “I was happy to hear that.”

Full story here.

--Sam Kasan


Zatkoff and Greiss glove tap

Spaling getting his first-taste of Penguins' practice

The 1st line reunited: Dupuis-Kunitz-Crosby

Crosby cutting through the neutral zone

And listening to coach go over the new system

Johnston giving the boys the details on the practice

A very happy Crosby at practice

Letang looking sleaker without the hair

Kunitz plowing down the ice

Dupuis is his red limited contact jersey

Kapanen cutting into the ice

Spaling and Goc exchange a look of longing

Comeau and Crosby on the wall

Scuderi ready for puck drop

Asst coach Rick Tocchet with the day's itinerary

Comeau working the puck

Kunitz tees up a shot

Greiss takes up a lot of space in net

Group lineup

--Sam Kasan

Head coach Mike Johnston said not to read too much into the combinations and pairings early in camp. But for what it's worth, here's how they looked...



The Pens worked on several different drills for the first day of camp. The defense worked the puck D-to-D below the goal line before hitting the center to breakout of the zone. In their breakouts, the team exited the zone as a 5-man group, all skating close together.

The team also had a 3-on-3 scrimmage in the neutral zone, working on moving the puck in traffic with little space to operate.

--Sam Kasan

We have our first surprise of training camp. Yesterday, head coach Mike Johnston said Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin wouldn't be available for the start of camp due to recently sustained injuries. Johnston said he didn't expect the injuries to be long-term. In Crosby's case, he was right.

As Team A took the ice for the first practice session of the day, Crosby joined his teammates.

Update: After about an hour on the ice, Crosby left the ice and headed down the runway.

Update update: Crosby's early departure was pre-arranged. Click here for the full story.

--Sam Kasan

The training camp roster will be split into two groups: A and B.

--Michelle Crechiolo

Good morning hockey fans. Today, the Penguins will hold their first practice of training camp. It will also be the first practice run by new head coach Mike Johnston, as he begins implementing his new, puck-possession, breakout system. I hope the defensemen are ready to skate, because they're going to breaking a sweat.

The team reported for training camp Thursday morning for medical and fitness testing. Check out their comments on the eve of a new season and pictures from the testing at yesterday's Pens Report.

As for today, here are a couple of items of note for the practice.
  • Crosby and Malkin will NOT participate. More details on them here.
  • Maatta, Dupuis and Kapanen will participate. Maatta and Dupuis will wear red limited-contact jerseys.
  • Pouliot will NOT practice, though he did skate on his own prior to practice.
The Penguins will work on two offensive and two defensive components at today's practice. Check back later and we'll provide some insight on the new system strucutre and style. As well as including the usual photos and videos from Camp Johnston Day 2.

And yes, Allen, we are talking about practice.

--Sam Kasan
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