LetsGoPens.com: Netwolf's 1999 Camp Reports

First Formal Practice, Group A

Posted by netwolf ( on September 05, 1999 at 11:42:50:

Group A 

Goalies: Tom Barrasso, Sebastien Caron

2 John Slaney D
5 Hans Jonsson D
8 Jean-Paul Tessier D
10 Bob Errey F
11 Boris Protsenko F
12 Tom O'Connor D
14 Milan Kraft F
22 Joe Blaznek F
26 David Cameron F
27 Alexei Kovalev F

2 Pavel Skrbek D
4 Kevin Hatcher D
8 Alain Driscoll F
12 Mike Prokopec F
16 Eric Lecompte F
17 Matthew Barnaby F
18 Joel Scherban F
20 Kurtis Drummond D
23 Don Coyne D
27 Tom Kostopoulos F

I don't have a lot of background info on many of these guys, as I wasn't able to get a copy of
the 1999-2000 Training Camp Guide. Maybe during the next session at 12:30...

For all those who were wondering about Bob Errey, let me tell you: he still has great wheels.
He was flying all around the rink, and was among the fastest skaters in this session.

This practice seemed to be more physical than one in the past few years. Several good, solid
checks were laid out. Many of them were thrown by Jean-Paul Tessier, a 6', 200lb d-man out of
Ferris State, who also played for Ottawa in the OHL. Another guy who showed a willingness to
hit was Hans Jonsson.

Not too much to report from this session. Group B starts in about a half-hour. Among this group
are Jagr, Straka, Titov, Werenka, Butenschon, and Alexei Morozov, as well as newcomers
David Wilkie and Steve Leach, and prospects Michal Rosival, Greg Crozier and Chris Kelleher.

Group B Session

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Posted by netwolf ( on September 05, 1999 at 14:53:05:

Group B 

Goalies: Peter Skudra, Craig Hillier

4 Michal Rosival D
5 Brad Werenka D
7 Chris Kelleher D
8 Harlan Pratt D
10 Dylan Gyori F
12 Steve Leach F
16 Jaromir Jagr F
17 Kevin Brown F
22 Martin Straka F
25 Ed Bursich F

3 Sven Butenschon D
5 Jeremy Van Hoof D
6 David Wilkie D
7 Alexandre Mathieu F
10 Jan Fadrny F
11 Greg Crozier F
24 Jean-Paul Tessier D
25 German Titov F
26 Rob Brown F
28 Aleksey Morozov F

Man, it's gonna take a while to get used to Jagr's new 'do. For those concerned about the
"Samson" effect, don't. Jags burned more than a few guys out there today.

Steve Leach is someone to watch at camp. I don't know if he'll stick, but he definitely has a
shot. He is a great skater; he has breakaway speed and his acceleration is good as well. He
gets his shot off quickly, and is accurate; I didn't see him miss the net that much and he wasn't
aiming at the center of the net either.

Brad Werenka must be trying to fill the void created by Kaspar's abscence. He and Jagr got
into some stick swinging which escalated into some pushing, shoving and facewashing. It was
all in good fun though. Actually, Wrenks took a swing at Marty first, and the Jags went after
him. Maybe Jagr is gonna be the protector this year. ;-) Later on, during a half-rink pickup
game, Wrenks broke the blade of his stick over Rob Brown. I didn't see where it got him, but he
laid on the ice for a while. He was playing possum though, because he was all smiles when he
did finally get up. 
Group C Session

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Posted by netwolf ( on September 05, 1999 at 18:46:27:

Group C:

Goalies: JS Aubin, Scott Myers

2 Jiri Slegr D
3 Craig Anderson D
9 Darcy Robinson D
10 Sandy Moger F
11 Kurtis Drummond D
15 Robert Dome F
16 Casey Harris F
18 Tyler Wright F
23 Valentin Morozov F
25 Robert Lang F

2 Josef Melichar D
9 Gary Shuchuk F
13 Andrew Ference D
14 Tom Chorske F
15 Martin Sonnenberg F
16 Kip Miller F
19 Alain O'Driscoll F
20 Ian Moran D
22 Alexei Kolkunov F
29 Mike Pietrangelo F

Kip Miller was a late addition to this group; I am guessing he has signed a deal or has one on
the table.

The most questions for this session involved Robert Dome. As reported, he did not repeat last
year's mistake; he came to camp in good shape this year. He seemed a step faster than I
remember, but then again I haven't seen him skate since last camp. He actually did look good
today, and teamed with Robert Lang to make a few outstanding plays on 2-on-1 breaks. Of
course all of that is moot if his head isn't on straight. Some quotes from Dome: 
"I won't go back to the AHL."
"My first year, I was in better shape than last year."
"I don't really want to talk about last year. It was a tough year for me."
"There are a lot of good offensive players here, but I'm a good offensive player, too. I can
make the team."

The first one worries me a bit. Yes, Dome definitely has a shot to make the team, but if he
doesn't then what happens? Will he pout and waste another year of his career? I don't know,
but at least he admits he was out of shape last year. I hope he gets things worked out. Maybe
after seeing what Jan Hrdina did to make it last year will help.

Andrew Ference is the same guy I remember from last year. A smaller, speedy, feisty guy who
always seems to get to the puck first. He has great wheels, a quick release, and good shot.

Ference was in the land of giants today. In this group were Chorske (6'1", 212), Pietrangelo
(6'4", 212), Robinson (6'4", 220), Moger (6'3", 218), and Anderson, who I don't have a listing for,
but seemed to be as big as these other guys. I wonder how many of these guys will be around
come the regualr season.

Darcy Robinson and Craig Anderson both seem to like to take the body on guys consistently. 
Today's Group A Session

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Posted by netwolf ( on September 06, 1999 at 11:26:06:

Today's camp had all kinds of things going on. Here goes....

Mario Lemieux showed up at camp today. 80-85% of the stands emptied when they realized
this. Mario signed for all of them...

They ran a 2-on-2 drill I hadn't seen before today. They took the nets down into one offensive
zone and lined them up along the side boards, halfway between the goal and bluelines. All of
the players lined up behind the blueline. One of the coached dumped a puck in, and the four
guys played 2-on-2, but whomever had control of the puck could shoot at whichever goalie
they wanted to. This drill was a lot of fun to watch.

It was in this drill that netminder Sabastien Caron stood out. He made all kinds of great saves,
especially on breakaways and 2-on-Nones. Every shot I saw get by him was either perfectly
placed or was something no one had a chance at. Caron was the Pens 3rd round pick (86th
overall) in this summer's draft. ESPN has him listed at 6'1", 150, but he doesn't look that skinny.
Who know with all that goalie gear though.

I couldn't see how Tom Barrasso was doing. The last two days of practice have been marred by
fog on the ice and condensation all over the glass. Today water was sporadically dropping
from the ceiling as well. I think moisture was collecting on the ceiling until it all came down at
once. All of this is being caused by the humidity level outside.

Other players who stood out today, in no particular order:

Hans Jonsson-continued to throw solid hits and take the body. Also made some nice passes
and scored on a nifty deflection.

Jean-Paul Tessier-as with Jonsson, he continued to thump his teammates in the corners and
put Kip Miller down with a nice open ice hit.

Alexei Kovalev-he simply put on a show today. Dancing around people, playing keepaway,
making incredible shot and passes... he quite simply did it all today.

Milan Kraft-great skater, made several nice passes and showed off a terrific wrist shot. I don't
wanna curse the kid, but skill-wise he reminds me a lot of Petr Nedved. I emphasize that
comparison was on skill alone.

David Cameron had a few nice shots, and Joe Blaznek and Tom Kastopoulos showed alot of
grit in fighting through checks.

Matthew Barnaby is showing to be a hard worker too. He was among the leaders on the ice
this session, taking first crack at most of the drills. He is a very skilled guy too, and if he is used
right and not limited to a checking role, I think he can be a big asset to this team.

Unfortunately, I will not be at either of the other two sessions today, and with work I'll only be
able to see about an hour of practice each day. Now if everyone would like to pitch in and pay
my bills, I'll gladly blow of work and spend all day at Pens camp and keep all of you up-to-date
on what goes on!
Todays Practice

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Posted by netwolf ( on September 07, 1999 at 14:11:39:

Lousy timing on my part causes a very short report today. In the middle of each practice
session, the players leave the rink for a bit so the ice can be resurfaced. I was hoping to arrive
during or just after that break, but unfortunately I got there about 7 minutes prior. So unless
everyone wants details on the players' stretching routines or wants to formulate guesses as to
why the zamboni didn't get on to the rink until 10-15 minutes after the players left the rink I'll
keep it brief.

In the brief time of actual drilling I saw, Sven Butenschon was the most notable. He appears to
have worked on the offensive part of his game over the summer. They were running a full rink
drill in which a coach dumps a puck in, and the 5 guys have to retrieve it, break out of their
end, and try to generate a scoring opportunity. After the initial chance, a second puck is fed to
one of the D, who either shoots or set up his partner for a shot. The forwards try for a
deflection. On the initial chances Sven had 3 goals in the trips, each time sneaking in from his
point position down the slot and rifling wristers in. The goalie wasn't getting good looks from
all the traffic, but he was still making nice shots. I don't think Hatcher has anything to worry
about just yet, but it's nice to see guys trying to add dimensions to their game.

On a postive note, I didn't really notice any fog on the rink, and the glass wasn't steamed up
quite as bad as yesterday
White vs. Gold

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Posted by netwolf ( on September 10, 1999 at 17:14:31:

The drop of the puck came much later than noon today. By the time the zamboni has taken two
dry runs at the ice, and then a normal one, it was almost 1:00. If anyone knows more about ice
resurfacing than me (which wouldn't take much) has any idea why the zamboni would make
two trips around the rink without laying down water, please clue me in. I was guessing that it
wasn't working right, but when they made the third trip and actually resurfaced it, I wondered.
Maybe it's to get the excess snow off of the rink....

At any rate, I did see the first period, so here it is:

The period ended with Team White leading 2-1. Steve Leach got White started, firing a wrister
past Scott Myers. Assists to Kevin Brown and David Wilkie. Next Michal Rosival made a terrific
play to control the puck and hold off one checker long enough to get a backhand past Myers
from the slot. It was a great play and Rosy exhibited a fair deal of skill and strength. Jagr and
Straka got the helpers. Valentin Morozov, who looks bigger to me this year, went one-on-one
with a White d-man, used his speed to just get a step around him, then cut back towards the
net, held off the defenseman and fired a shot by Craig Hillier. Morozov took a headman pass
from (?) which caught Team White in a line change. Gold had some chance to tie it up, but
could not. Tom Chorske got a puck coming down the slot, but rather than taking his shot, he
deeked around one man, which allowed another player the time to block his shot.

Jagr, Straka, and Titov are all playing on the same line in these games. That's not really fair to
the others teams is it?

Robert Dome was skating hard and forechecking well...

Andrew Ference was flying all around. His instincts are very good. He always seems to know
exactly when he can jump up, retreat, or hang back...
White Beats Black, 4-4

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Posted by netwolf ( on September 14, 1999 at 23:30:25:

That's not a typo. The White squad beat black 4-3 in regulation, but as is the practice the two
team played a 5 minute, sudden death, 4-on-4 OT, and the black squad scored about halfway
thru said period.

I arrived with 15 minutes remaining in the third, white ahead 3-2. The puck seemed to be
jumping around a little today. White got a golden chance when Jags got a clean breakaway
from the blueline. He skated in on Caron and shot wide. Every breakway I've seen Jagr get in
theses games, he has skated in and taken his shot, no moves at all. Maybe he's trying to take it
easy on the young guys....

However, to paraphrase Dan Patrick, "You can't stop Jaromir Jagr, you can only hope to
contain him." Marty Straka skated down the slot around one d-man and put a shot to the lower
right corner. Caron made a pretty good toe save, but Jagr got to the rebound and had all type
of room up top and he buried it.

The Black squad did not quit and they would be rewarded. Shortly after one close call with a
loose puck near the net, Milan Kraft scored a goal with around 35 seconds left to get with in
4-3, assisted by Matthew Barnaby. That would be as close as they would get though, as the
White team took their timeout, settled down, and more or less refused Black to even set up in
their zone.

The OT goal was scored by Eric Lecompte and was originally announced as unassisted, but Kip
Miller talked the PA announcer into giving him one.

Sven Butenschon skated well today, and continued jumping into the play when the opportunity
presented itself.
Black vs. Gold (another fight too)

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Posted by netwolf ( on September 15, 1999 at 17:57:02:

Today, Team Black defeated Team Gold by a 3-1 margin. Sabastien Caron got the win and JS
Aubin took the loss. Only one goal was scored in the third period: Eric Lecompte from Pavel
Skrbek. Team Gold was got caught in a bad change. Andrew Ference tried to catch him but
Lecompte got around him and scored.

In the middle of the third, Matthew Barnaby and Ference got tangled up and some pushing and
facewashing ensued. The two were quickly separated by the officials and their teammates.
Barnaby wanted to go, and delivered a clean hit to Ference along the board after the play
started back. Ference ignored it, and began to skate back toward the play. Barnaby followed
and crosschecked him in the back. Ference spun around and after some jawing, droppped his
gloves and went after him. Ference had the early advantage, but the hardest punch he landed
caught Matt's helmet. Shortly after, Ference managed to undo Barnaby's chin strap and knock
his helmet off. Both of them continued to get a hand free, while not letting the other go.
Ference got in a few shots, but nothing really connected. The whole time Matt is shaking his
head, and you could hear him saying "No, no." The two got tied up again, staring each other
down and again you could hear Barnaby egging Ference on, repeatedly saying "Come on"
over and over again. Eventually Barnaby got the upper hand and began to get Ference's jersey
over his head, and that's when their teammates separated them and both guys went to their
respective benches. Neither was assessed any penalty time. :) They were on the ice against
each other later, and nothing else came of it.

They played the OT again, and Jan Hrdina rifled a backhander to the high, far corner past a
surprised Caron.

Robert Dome was on the roster today, but did not play the third. I have no idea why...
Gold Beats White 5-4

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Posted by netwolf ( on September 16, 1999 at 19:12:10:

We pick the action up at the start of the third, Gold leading 3-2. Hillier is in goal for White.
Aubin in the nets for Gold, although I presume Myers had been in for a while because he was
on the bench.

Greg Crozier pounced on a rebound of a Werenka point shot leveling the score at 3-3. Straka
must have deflected it or had his own rebound chance as assists went to Marty and Brad.

Alexei Kolkunov would score on a 2-on-1 from Alain O'Driscoll to make it 4-3 Gold, and those
two would set up Robert Lang in the slot for a 5-3 Gold advantage.

White missed a great chance when Jaromir Jagr circled back in the neutral zone allowing
Straka to get behind the D. Jagr whipped a pass right up the middle and sent Marty in on a
breakaway, but he missed the net.

White continued to fight back and did get within one score when Rob Brown buried a
one-timer off a Martin Straka feed. Jagr was orignally credited with the other assist, but after
he said he didn't touch it, the other helper went to Werenka.

White had some chances after that, but for the most part was held at bay by Gold. The Gold
forwards did a good job of forcing White to dump it in, while their D picked up the puck and
dumped it back out again.

The customary OT was played, Marty Straka getting the goal for White. Jagr dug a loose puck
off the boards and got it right to him. Andrew Ference had the unenviable job of defending
Jagr on this play, and Jags made him look pretty bad. Ference had decent position, but Jagr
one-armed him away so hard Ference did a 360 and his stick went flying out of his hands.
Idon't know if Jagr caught him off guard or what, but it was a pretty impressive show of
strength by Jagr.

I only saw Robert Dome skate a few shifts, but he looked a little better today. He didn't seem to
be forcing plays as much...

If the Pens are to keep one of the D invited to tryout, I'd rather it be David Wilkie than John
Slaney. I still haven't seen anything beyond average from him. Wilkie is bigger, younger, and
IMO, has a better shot from the point...

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