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Training Camp Outlook: Flanking Sid

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins
Playing alongside Sidney Crosby is no doubt one of the best gigs in the NHL, and it’s a job that has been held the past season and a half by Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin. Kunitz is back to resume his role on the left side, but Guerin’s departure to Philadelphia creates an opening on right wing.

Among returning players, Pascal Dupuis figures to have the inside track at the outset of camp. Dupuis, who has played off and on with Crosby since arriving from Atlanta in February of 2008, is coming off of a strong season which saw him post 18 goals and 38 points, both the second-highest totals of his career. Dupuis’ hard shot – especially with the improved accuracy he displayed last year – and speed are a good mesh with Crosby’s talents.

“I have played there a lot before,” Dupuis said. “I just want to play wherever I can help the team the most. I really like playing with him. I hope he likes playing with me as well.”

Veteran Mike Comrie, inked to a one-year deal on Sept. 3, is another candidate. Comrie, 30, has five 30-goal seasons on his resume and has proven to be a finisher in his nine-year NHL career.

“When you are a professional you know you have to earn what you get,” Comrie said. “Every guy every year earns their spot on the roster and where they are slotted in. I think internal competition makes the team better.”

Tyler Kennedy and Maxime Talbot, both of whom dealt with injuries throughout last season, could also be candidates to get a look with Crosby. Head coach Dan Bylsma expects both to come to camp looking to prove they are deserving of larger roles on the team.

Dustin Jeffrey and Eric Tangradi, both of whom played well for the Penguins’ minor-league affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season, could force their way into the mix with strong camps. Both players got off to good starts in that regard with solid performances at the team’s prospect camp in London, Ontario.

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