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Penguins Report: WBS Opens Camp

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins descended upon the Coal Street Complex in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. for the start of training camp.

The players (camp roster here) arrived Thursday evening for a team meeting and medical testing. They hit the ice for the first time Friday to lay the building blocks for a Calder Cup run.

Follow the Penguins Report throughout the day for updates on the opening of camp.

  • WBS open training camp (7:35 PM).
  • Practice info and pics (2:00 PM).
  • McNeill tests his camera shooting (6:00 PM).
  • Tour of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (9:00 AM).

7:35 PM:

Michelle Crechiolo talked to a few of the players about the opening of training camp. She filed this story...

They staggered off the ice after practice, dripping sweat and obviously fatigued from a tough skate – which included a timed skating test to measure their conditioning.

But while the players were clearly exhausted, they were also thoroughly excited to be back at the rink with their teammates playing hockey again after a long offseason as Friday marked the opening day of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton training camp.

“It feels good,” forward Zach Sill said of starting camp. “We had a little bit of a longer break this year than we are all used to. I felt guilty hanging around home so long. It felt good to get back with the guys and back on the ice. You missed the guys over the summer. When you come back everyone is in good spirits. It’s a good time of year.”

Full story posted here.

--Sam Kasan

6:00 PM:
There was a rather lighthearted moment shared by new WBS Penguins Reid McNeill, Dominik Uher and Jayson Megna after practice. Michelle Crechiolo was interviewing Uher while I was interviewing McNeill in the hallway to the team locker room. After McNeill finished, he couldn't help sabotage Uher. At first he made silly gestures and faces from behind the camera. Then photog Meghan McManimon handed over the camera and McNeill took a shot at playing camera operator. Megna jumped in and offered to be Uher's "translator." After the interview ended, McNeill admitted, "I zoomed way in on your face. Look at that beautiful smile."

McNeill shooting Uher's interview as Megna acts as his translator

McNeill working the zoom function on the camera

--Sam Kasan

2:00 PM:
The WBS Penguins split the training camp roster into two squads (A and B). Each squad opened their on-ice session with a 15-minute skating test. The groups followed that with one hour of practices.

The first group consisted of forwards Eric Tangradi, Trevor Smith, Beau Bennett, Brian Gibbons, Warren Peters, Paul Thompson, Tom Kuhnhackl, Denver Manderson, Adam Payerl and Keven Veilleux, defensemen Simon Despres, Dylan Reese, Brian Strait, Philip Samuelsson, Joey Mormina and Alex Grant and goalies Brad Thiessen and Patrick Killeen.

The second group featured Philippe Dupuis, Jayson Megna, Benn Ferriero, Dominik Uher, Zach Sill, Riley Holzapfel, Michael Neal, Cody Chupp and Scott Zurevinski, defensemen Joe Morrow, Robert Bortuzzo, Brian Dumoulin, Carl Sneep and Reid McNeill and goaltenders Jeff Zatkoff and Killeen (he pulled double duty).

Here are some pics from the Friday’s practice.

The team gathers around coach Hynes for instructions

Coach Bylsma having a teaching moment with Holzapfel




Killeen watches the puck sail over the net with Holzapfel and Sill in front

Megna in full concentration

Sill lines up his teammates in their correct positions as Dumoulin expresses himself in the background

Uher skating hard with the puck

Pittsburgh-native Reese

Tangradi awaits a pass

Despres and Manderson

Strait flashes the smile

Coach Bylsma helps out at training camp

Smith takes a breather during practice

Kuhnhackl heads up ice with some speed

Alex Grant surveys the scene

Thiessen warming up

Coach Bylsma defends Bennett on a rush drill

--Sam Kasan

9:00 AM:
Road trip! The crew at the Penguins official website have made the drive up to Wilkes-Barre for the opening of training camp for the WBS Penguins.

After a 5 a.m. wake-up call, the crew made the four-plus hour drive to northeastern Pennsylvania. We met up with WBS coaches and staff at their beautiful practice facility (seriously, this has to be the best set up in the AHL). We then set out for a tour of the cities. I traveled through Wilkes-Barre while Michelle went to Scranton.

The S in WBS stands for Scranton. And Meesh tried to recreate the opening scenes from "The Office" on her trip (as well as some extra shots). Fun fact - "The Office" star John Krasinski actually took those shots of Scranton used in the intro from his car as he was helping scout possible locations for the show.

-Sam Kasan

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