The Pens finished the 2016 rookie tournament in London, Ontario 0-3 after falling to Toronto in overtime, 6-5, on Sunday. Milos Bubela, Michael Webster, Teddy Blueger, C.J. Yakimowicz and Dominik Simon all scored for the Pens while Casey DeSmith made 30 saves. The Maple Leafs had a big day on the power play, with four of their goals coming on the man-advantage. Here are Michelle Crechiolo's 3 impressions from the press box…
After getting shut out by Ottawa on Saturday, defenseman Ethan Prow told me they needed to come back Sunday with more 'giddy-up.' They certainly had that, as it just felt like it all came together for the Pens, with a lot of the guys playing their third game in as many days. They seemed to have a better feel for each other and it looked like they finally have their legs under them, as they were making plays and bearing down to finish them. They did a much better job of finding open ice and finding each other.
I thought the Pens' best players were just that, even if most of them didn't get on the scoresheet. They started to assert themselves offensively and used their speed to their advantage. Jake Guentzel and Dominik Simon stood out in that regard. Simon forced overtime for the Pens with a huge tying goal - his first of the tournament - that came with less than twominutes left in regulation, while Guentzel had a myriad of chances, including a breakaway in overtime. He told me afterward he felt good, saying "I had chances and that's all you can ask for. Hopefully I'm saving them." Overall on the weekend, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Clark Donatelli named Guentzel as the player who stood out most. "He got better and better as it went on," Donatelli said of Guentzel. "He's going to be a hell of a player. We're really excited to have him. He's looked like he's ready to go and his compete is just off the charts. I'm just really excited for him."
READY TO GO
It wasn't the Pens' best performance at this rookie tournament, as they weren't able to get a mark in the win column this weekend. But the positive is that the players who are coming to training camp this week had the opportunity to shake off the rust and are now ready to go. "They got a good start," Donatelli said. "They got some games now under their belt and they know what it's like to be a Pittsburgh Penguin. They've seen a little bit of it here and now they're going to have the opportunity to go to camp and show what they can do. They got a little foundation here, they got their feet wet and now we're looking towards the big camp and they're really excited."