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Tanev gets big opportunity to start camp

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / Penguins Team Reporter

After Brandon Tanev arrived at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex for the first day of training camp on Friday, he looked on the board to see where his number was in the line combinations.

He found it next to a couple of star players: Evgeni Malkin and Alex Galchenyuk.

"You're told who to go out there with, and you just want to work and build some confidence and chemistry," Tanev said.

The trio has certainly done that at the start of training camp. They clicked right away in their first intra-squad scrimmage that morning, with Tanev and Malkin both scoring goals. 

They carried that over into their second intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday, with how they read and reacted off of each other while moving the puck.

"It's easy to play so far with both those guys, they're both great players," Tanev said. "I'm just looking forward to keeping that going throughout camp."

Tanev has described his game as physical, fast and tenacious, and that's exactly what he's shown so far. 

He's been trying, as he put it, "to get on the body as much as I can" and the speed has been evident as well, with Malkin even saying, "Tanev is probably the fastest guy in the NHL." 

Malkin likes what he sees so far from the 27-year-old winger, who played in more of a checking line role in Winnipeg and is excited for the opportunity to potentially move up the lineup.

"You're happy in the position you're in now and you've got to continue to build," Tanev said. "They're two extremely skilled players and gifted goal scorers and playmakers. I'm just trying to find empty space and work hard and get that puck and try to build some confidence."

Tanev signed a six-year deal with Pittsburgh on the first day of NHL free agency on July 1 after spending the previous three-plus seasons with Winnipeg. 

Tanev felt like the Penguins were the right fit for him because he wanted the chance to be a part of something and have the opportunity to win. That feeling has only been amplified since arriving in Pittsburgh.

"I think they have a great group of guys in here and I'm really looking forward to the season," he said.

Tanev arrived in Pittsburgh about two weeks ago and has been exploring the city ever since, trying to get his footing. He's been trying different restaurants around where he lives near the practice facility and has ventured downtown for a Pirates game. 

"The city has been great," he said. "The organization and everybody in it has been awesome with me so far. The facilities are top notch and the guys have been great, so I'm really excited to be here and can't wait for the season to start."

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