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The Rookie

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

The members of the Pittsburgh media were given photo rosters for this week’s Penguins prospect development camp so they could familiarize themselves with the players they hadn’t met yet.

Although he probably wouldn’t admit it, such a roster might have been a useful tool for Joseph Morrow – the organization’s first-round pick (23rd overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft – who is attending his first-ever Penguins camp.

“I’m still trying to learn everybody’s name,” Morrow admitted with a smile. “It’s hard. There’s a lot of guys here and with the organization and everything else, too. It’s pretty crazy. You don’t want to forget people’s names.”

Morrow, who grew up in Sherwood Park, Alberta and who plays for Portland of the Western Hockey League (WHL), flew into Pittsburgh Monday night for the introduction meeting – a little over two weeks after becoming a member of the Penguins organization.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, ever since the draft,” he said. “I was real excited to finally come to Pittsburgh, and so far, so good. Hopefully it stays that way. “

Morrow had never been to the Steel City before this week, and the 18-year-old defenseman is thoroughly impressed by his new surroundings.

“It’s phenomenal,” he said of his first impressions of both Pittsburgh and CONSOL Energy Center. “The whole city and everything is overwhelming, especially with this brand-new rink. The dressing room is fantastic. It’s like a little palace.”

Since it’s Morrow’s first-ever professional camp, he isn’t entirely sure what to expect.

Morrow – who projects as a top-4 defenseman at the NHL level thanks to his wicked shot, good size (6-foot, 197 pounds) and powerful skating – just plans on absorbing all of the information he can that will help him find long-term success as a Pittsburgh Penguin.

Not to mention that he plans on enjoying the other aspects that come with the camp, like team-bonding activities, group dinners and just getting to know his fellow prospects.

“Just to develop,” he said of what he hopes to get out of this week. “It’s a development camp for a reason. I’m here to improve every aspect of my game and I’m here to have a good time. They treat you phenomenally here. You can’t get much better than this."
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