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Penguins Report: Training Camp Day 3

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Sound the horn. Day 3 of training camp is in the books. Here is the skinny from the day:

- The Penguins have signed general manager Ray Shero to a five-year contract extension (11:41 AM). The players were also happy for Shero.
- Head coach Dan Bylsma confirmed (12:10 PM) that Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Brooks Orpik will play in Wednesday's preseason opener against Detroit - the first-ever game to be played at CONSOL Energy Center. For more details click here.
- Malkin and Group C defeated Sidney Crosby and Group A with a 2-1 decision. Brett Sterling was the star of the game, scoring both Group C goals. Simon Despres tallied the lone Group A goal. For the highlights (11:20 AM).
- Speaking of Sterling, Jason Seidling chatted with him about his big performance.
- Casey Pierro-Zabotel will miss 3-4 weeks with a broken finger (12:47 PM).

1:57 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room:

Mark Letestu

On establishing himself at camp:
All I wanted was a chance coming into camp, and I think the first few days went as well as they could have. It’s a small hurdle in a marathon, but I’ll take and keep going the way I am.
On his experience last year helping him:
When you get four games in the playoffs, that’s the highest level you can play at and I think I performed well. So that gave me confidence coming in here that I can play with these guys and will help me earning my way onto the roster.
On his most valuable asset to the team:
Probably just my hockey smarts. I know the systems pretty well and I can talk pretty good on the ice. I think just being in the right place helps with any kind of deficiencies in my skating out there. It helps me look quick and get around the ice a little faster and maybe help me pick up some goals.

Alex Goligoski

On Martin and Michalek:
They look good. Obviously, they have a pretty good track record. I’m sure they’re just feeling their way around right now, with a lot of new players and new faces, but they look great out there.
On the fan turnout at training camp:
It’s unbelievable. I’m really surprised. Even back at Mellon we’d get a lot of fans. Here it’s probably even more so. It’s awesome, it’s fun to get out there. When you’re working hard and getting tired out there, it’s kind of fun with fans there.

Max Talbot

On playing the first game:
Everybody has things to prove in this locker room. Yes, it’s a new building and everything, but we want to play hard. We want to create our identity right away. We don’t want to wait and see. Even in practice, it started in Day 1. At practice you got to come out and play hard. I think that’s what guys have been doing.
On finding a new routine:
That’s why we play three (home) preseason games. It’s going to get us ready for October 7th. Yes, the routine is going to be a little different, but guys are going to pick it up pretty fast.


1:51 PM:
Here are some action shots from Monday's scrimmage:

Opening puck drop (left); Crosby and Malkin collide at the blue line (right)


1:02 PM:
As promised earlier, here is Ray Shero's entire transcript from his media conference announcing his five-year contract extension.

On his extension:
It’s a great day for me and my family. When we came here in 2006, we were hoping we made the right decision and we certainly did. It’s a great place to be and a great place to live. We’ve made a lot of friends outside of hockey and certainly we have a great nucleus of players and a great new building. To be part of this moving forward is great for us.
On the uncertain future when he took the job:
I came into a situation where I really didn’t know. It was my first general manager’s position, and I was just happy to have the job. I still remember that first game against Philadelphia in ’06, we won 4-0, but I remember going to the rink that day and I was thinking to myself ‘Do I have any idea what I’m doing?’ and we won that night. That was very special. But to see how this has worked out for everyone, the city and the new building and the team having won the Stanley Cup and how we’re set up and a great ownership group, it’s been obviously a great decision to come here on my behalf. It’s a great place to work and a great place to live.
On his signature move:
I look back at the first summer, with Mark Eaton and Jarkko Ruutu, two free agents that had other offers decided to come here. Mark, who I knew from Nashville, and Ruutu, who I didn’t know that well, but I talked to them quite a bit about coming to Pittsburgh. Those guys were here for a little bit and, in Mark’s case, won a Cup with us. They were two veteran guys that helped change the culture here. A couple years ago, with Chris Kunitz, that worked out well. With Billy Guerin and Craig Adams and all those guys at (the trade deadline) helped us. And, of course, Dan Bylsma coming in and doing a great job. They all add up. But not one in particular.
On any regretted moves:
I really don’t think there’s anything I regret doing. Some have worked out better than others, If you would have told me Ponikarovsky would only score two goals for us, I thought he’d do better than that. But you have to take that chance some times. When Billy (Guerin) came in, he wasn’t playing particularly well with the Islanders. He came in here and just happened to be that fit and that worked out really well. In this job and in this business you have to take chances and risks. There’s not a deal that has been a total disaster. Fortunately I’ve got a good staff and good recommendations from people.
On when the Penguins felt like his team:
Out of the four years, maybe two or three years in it felt like my team. It’s still somewhat Craig (Patrick’s) team. It’s great to walk in that locker room now and see that Hall of Fame and to see Craig up there and Jack Riley and my predecessors, like Eddie Johnston, and the heritage of this team. It’s nice to have these young players come in and take a look at the ring of honor to see exactly what this team is all about. Craig Patrick was here for 17 years, won two Cups and did a great job. Guys like this and Jack and E.J. are always part of the Penguins history and tradition, so it’s still part of his team as well.
On players praising the organization as a great place to play:
It feels good, because that’s what we’ve tried to establish here since day one. I say this a lot, but you’re only as good as your manager, you’re only as strong as your ownership. In this case with Mario and Ron, they give me the latitude to make decisions. They created a certain culture and environment where I can say all these things here because I want to treat our players and families well, and our fans. And we have all these charitable efforts. But if I don’t have the support of our ownership it’s not going to go very far. But it has worked very well that way because from the top through myself and down to our coaches and training staff and players, I think it’s really worked together as one. And it made us a strong organization and a good place to play. We’ve got Sidney Crosby when I came in and Evgeni Malkin. This was a great position to come in to. Someone was going to get the job and I’m just really fortunate it was me. It certainly helped as a manager to have leadership and skill like that. They helped make this possible with this new building. It’s really a great place to play. And I believe it’s a great place to live for families and kids that come here. And we encourage them to become a part of the community and I think they’ve done a good job of doing that.


12:55 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma.

On the team’s health:
We have been (relatively healthy), but we’re at the point in camp now we’re it’s evident. We’re starting to get fatigue and that’s playing into what you see on the ice a little bit, both in practice and in (scrimmages). We need to make sure we give the appropriate rest to players while trying to get the work.
On Ray Shero’s extension:
I think it’s well deserved when you see what Ray has done here and what he continues to do, both in getting good players and building a team and a nucleus and foundation for what the Penguins are and how they play. I’m certainly happy for him.
On the Penguins’ organization:
I think there’s a clear understanding of what it means to be a Pittsburgh Penguin. Whether you’re a staff member, a coach or a player, there is something distinct and unique about that. And in a very short period of time, I think that’s happened with our organization. And I think it translates into what you see on the ice. That’s unique. There’s a clear understanding of the players and the people and how we do things and what it means to be a Penguin. It’s not an easy thing to do, but [Shero]’s done a very good job with that.
On Wednesday’s game being the first ever game at CONSOL Energy Center:
That the game on the 22nd is the first game in this building definitely played into some of the decision about the lineup. I think Sidney Crosby should be in that game, being the first game. And other guys like Evgeni Malkin and Brooks Orpik who have been with the organization for a long time, they are playing in that game because of that reason. On top of that, we really have three different types of games here. The first two are where players will get opportunities to get exhibition games. The second two are still more opportunities, but guys will have earned those games, and maybe the competition and some of the spots on our team will be playing out based on how the first two games go. Then five and six will be more of getting down to our team and situations for players to see themselves in.
On taking in the first game:
I’m really looking forward to seeing the building full, and see a National Hockey League game in here and seeing the energy and excitement and what it will be like. I just have a feeling that this game will different than a normal preseason game will be.
On Letestu:
Mark Letestu played games as our third-line center last year when he played in the National Hockey League. He was put in a playoff game because we were trying to win and he was a guy we thought could help us do that. So to see him on a line with Cooke and Asham is an indication of what we think a possibility for him to have success would be in.
On Tangradi:
Eric Tangradi is a guy we think can be a top-six guy or a winger with a good center-man and another good winger, and he’s getting that opportunity.
On his plans for camp:
The great thing about training camp is that every day it’s planned out and you execute that plan. There’s not really an adjustment to that plan for five or six days. So in terms of getting things done, it’s very planned out. The work and the drills and the pace that we have is planned out to get the work and the necessary conditioning in. Giving players and certain scenarios time to play out is all scheduled out. To this point, we feel pretty good about the first three days of planning.
On having NHL guys competing for spots:
I think it’s important. There are certain scenarios in a player’s career where they have a heightened sense of competitiveness, like contract years, coming to camp on a tryout, going to a new team, there are areas where you have a heightened sense of competitiveness. When you have that, that’s where you want your players to be. Having 12 players in camp and everyone’s assured of their jobs doesn’t provide that. So having depth and players that can compete for different opportunities and spots is important, especially in a short period of camp. We need to get competition and people need to earn their spots or move up in the organization – whether its from Wilkes-Barre to Pittsburgh or moving up in the lineup.

Assist: Tony Jovenitti

12:47 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma informed the media that Casey Pierro-Zabotel suffered a broken finger at Sunday's practice after getting hit with a shot. He will be out for 3-4 weeks.

12:10 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma said that all the big boys will be in the lineup on Wednesday night when the Penguins play the first-ever game at CONSOL Energy Center against Detroit.

"That the game on the 22nd is the first game in this building definitely played into some of the decision about the lineup," Bylsma said. "I think Sidney Crosby should be in that game, being the first game. And other guys like Evgeni Malkin and Brooks Orpik who have been with the organization for a long time, they are playing in that game because of that reason."

He added:

"I’m really looking forward to seeing the building full, and see a National Hockey League game in here and seeing the energy and excitement and what it will be like. I just have a feeling that this game will different than a normal preseason game will be."

11:41 AM:
The big announcement Monday was the signing of general manager Ray Shero to a five-year contract extension, keeping him in Pittsburgh through the 2015-16 season.

Here is a story on Shero's off-ice management style, as well as the best moves during his first four seasons.

My favorite quote from Shero's media conference was: "We’ve got Sidney Crosby when I came in and Evgeni Malkin. This was a great position to come in to. I don't apologize for it. Someone was going to get the job. I'm just fortunate it was me."

Shero's full transcript will be posted shortly.

11:20 AM:
The Crosby-Malkin scrimmage ended with Malkin's group (C) taking a 2-1 victory. Here are the highlights (courtesy of Jason Seidling):

First Period
12:54: There was a penalty called on Walker. Malkin was awarded a penalty shot. He made a move to his forehand but Thiessen stopped the shot with his right pad.

10:37: GOAL! Veilleux got the puck to Sterling atop the far circle. Sterling ripoed a wrist shot, top shelf, over the shoulder of Thiessen (Wagner awarded the second assist).

6:50: GOAL! There was a rebound at the feet of Thiessen. Sterling was there to knock it into the net for his second goal of the game and tournament.

Period 2
18:30: Brent Johnson was under siege early. Potter made a great play at the near point to create a shot for himself. Johnson made the save and squirmed along the ice to stop Veilleux's rebound chance.

10:04: Kennedy has looked unreal. He skated like it was Game 7 of the Cup Final. Kennedy was flying on the ice, getting into scrums and creating chances. He was rewarded for his efforts by getting a chance to play on Malkin's line. Malkin carried the puck down the midde and found Kennedy cutting down the right side. Kennedy sent a backhander just over the net.

5:31: GOA! A hooking penalty gave 2009 first-round pick Simon Despres a penalty shot. The smooth skating defenseman skated in on Fleury and beat him with a wrist shot just under the glove. The score made it 2-1, and things got more interesting.

1:20: Group A pulled netminder Brent Johnson for the extra attacker.

0:04: With time running out Brooks Orpik sent a desperation shot towards the goal. The puck slid untouched through the crease, around the corner and out of the zone to seal the game.

0:00: The game ended with a 2-1 victory for Group C, thanks to two goals from Brett Sterling. Listen to Sterling talk about his big performance.


10:37 AM:
Here are the line combinations and D-pairings the Penguins are using this morning during the scrimmage between Sidney Crosby's Team A and Evgeni Malkin's Team B.

Group A
N. Johnson-Craig-Wallace


Johnson (backup)

Group C


Fleury (backup)

10:02 AM:
The Penguins spent the first session of the morning working on faceoffs and cycling drills down low.



9:39 AM:

Group C is on the ice now for their early morning practice. Not much really to report. Pretty basic drills: work in the corners; one-on-ones; two-on-twos. In a few minutes Group A and C will be scrimmaging, pitting stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin against each other.

8:00 AM:
Day 3 of the Penguins 2010 training camp is here. The highlight of the day will surely be when Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin go head-to-head in a intra-squad scrimmage. Click for recaps on all the events from Day 1 and Day 2 of training camp. Rossi's recap here

The team practices Monday, but will take Tuesday off to rest. The team will play the first-ever game at CONSOL Energy Center against Detroit Wednesday at 7 p.m. The contest with the Red Wings will also feature the return of the Penguins' Student Rush program.

The Penguins will again hold three practices Monday, and the intra-squad scrimmage. The 57-man training camp roster has been broken into three groups.  Click here to download the Training Camp schedule and groupings

Sunday's itinerary will be:
9 a.m. - Group C practices
10 a.m. - Group C and Group A scrimmage
11 a.m. - Group A practices
12 noon - Group B practices

Below are the team's groupings:

Group A

Sidney Crosby
Chris Conner
Pascal Dupuis
Eric Godard
Joey Haddad
Chris Kunitz
Nick Petersen
Casey Pierro-Zabotel
Joe Vitale
Geoff Walker

Robert Bortuzzo
Jason DeSantis
Simon Despres
Zbynek Michalek
Brooks Orpik
Brian Strait

Brent Johnson
Brad Thiessen

Group B

Arron Asham
Craig Adams
Jesse Boulerice
Tyler Brown
Chris Collins
Matt Cooke
Mark Letestu
Mike Rupp
Zach Sill
Alex Smigelski
Maxime Talbot

Deryk Engelland
Alex Goligoski
Andrew Hutchinson
Ben Lovejoy
Derek Peltier

John Curry
Mattias Modig

Group C

Mike Comrie
Ryan Craig
Dustin Jeffrey
Nick Johnson
Tyler Kennedy
Evgeni Malkin
Ryan Schnell
Brett Sterling
Eric Tangradi
Keven Veilleux
Tim Wallace

Kris Letang
Paul Martin
Corey Potter
Carl Sneep
Steve Wagner

Marc-Andre Fleury
Patrick Killeen
Alex Pechurskiy
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