Fans arrived at Southpointe for the Penguins practice on Monday. But instead of seeing their favorite team skating on the ice, they were entertained by a soccer match instead.
Head coach Michel Therrien held a limited practice with only four players. The remaining members of the team either lifted weights or participated in three pickup soccer matches on an indoor soccer field adjacent to the ice rink.
The soccer match consisted of two teams - shirts vs. skins - in a seven-on-seven competition. Representing team shirts were: Sidney Crosby
, Rob Scuderi, Darryl Sydor, Jordan Staal
, Miroslav Satan, Pascal Dupuis
and strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar. Representing team skins were: Alex Goligoski, Eric Godard, Hal Gill, Mike Zigomanis, Kris Letang
, Tyler Kennedy
and Marc-Andre Fleury
“It was a great changeup,” said Staal, who scored the game-winning goal in games 2 and 3. “It’s always fun hanging out with the guys, playing a different game and loosening up a little bit.”
According to Therrien, the soccer match was intended to give the players a “conditioning” workout.
"It’s nice, we had a workout and a little game,” Crosby said. “Just get the guys together, get moving, get sweating. We had a mix of soccer and hockey. We played sockey today.”
Goligoski and Godard took turns in net for team skins. Crosby did his best Petr Cech impersonation in goal for team shirts.
"The ball’s coming pretty fast," Crosby said. "That’s a big net too. I wish hockey nets were that big.”
Crosby excelled in net, but admitted that he's more of an offensive goaltender, if such a thing exists.
“I was still joining the rush,” Crosby said. “I wasn’t your typical soccer goalie."
Team shirts won all three matchups. Crosby credits the team’s success to some shrewd front office moves.
“We got a big pickup at the deadline,” he said. “Miro(slav Satan) and (Kadar) were our last two picks. They came through big for us throughout (the game).”
Crosby had some lofty praise for Satan.
“He's a good player,” Crosby said of Satan. “I think he’s our top soccer player right now.”
Staal, unprompted, agreed with Crosby’s assessment.
“I’d have to say Miro, I’m not going to lie,” Staal said of who is the best soccer player. “He had some quick feet out there. He looked pretty good. He’s got the Euro advantage. They all seem to play.”
So what did team shirts win for sweeping the three-games?
“We won lunch,” Crosby said. >
The four players that actually practiced on the ice were Dany Sabourin, Paul Bissonnette, Mark Eaton and Petr Sykora.
Therrien skated Sabourin, Bissonnette and Eaton because they didn’t play in Pittsburgh’s 6-3 win in St. Louis on Saturday. The Penguins head coach said that Sykora needed the extra practice time because injuries and illness caused him to miss a majority of training camp. >
He said it: Crosby on his health:
“I feel much better. A little scare but I feel good.”Archive