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Eric Majeski's (aka Netwolf) Camp Reports for LetsGoPens.com

Camp 2007, Mellon Arena Session 1

September 19, 2007

If today's practices are any indication, the staff is beginning to decide how the depth chart looks. The second group, based on who is in it and the fact Therrien was not on the ice for their practice, appears to be on the outside looking in.

Group A was set up as such:
Forwards:
Recchi-Crosby-Hall
Roberts-Malkin-Christensen
Malone-Staal-Armstrong
Ruutu-Talbot-Laraque

Defensemen:
Sydor-Gonchar
Orpik-Whitney
Eaton-Scuderi
Nasreddine-Weaver

Goaltenders:
Fleury
Sabourin

That left Group B with the following:

Forwards:
Esposito-Jeffrey-Kennedy
Stone-Smith-Filewich
Minard-Taffe-James
x-Brent-Wallace

Defense:
Lannon-Letang
Goligoski-Lovejoy
Rullier

Goaltenders:
Conklin
Curry

A couple of things to note:

With Petr Sykora out of practice with a broken nose, that Adam Hall was tabbed to jump up to Crosby's line. That would seem to indicate he's got the inside track as the 13th forward, at least for now.

The top group had 8 defensemen, and Kris Letang was not among them.

Today, I tended to just focus in on a couple of guys in each group. In the first, I kept track of Mike Weaver and Adam Hall, since those are the two least familiar to me and the ones that seem to have the most work ahead of them if they want to be here on opening night.

Hall provided more of what I saw from him over the weekend. Doesn't have top end speed, but is above average. Seems to know where to be when he doesn't have the puck. He's all over the defense when he's the first guy in, and when he's the high man in the zone, is very conscious of where to go on the backcheck, or to cover for a pinching defenseman. He has a decent shot and manages to get it on net more often than not. His passing looked okay and he was pretty good at taking passes that weren't right on the mark.

Weaver is a small guy, but looks very poised, especially with the puck. No matter how much pressure he's facing from a forechecker, he doesn't panic or rush the play. He surveys his options and finds the open guy or open space, and gets the puck there. Like Hall, he's an above average skater and his positioning is pretty good. In the 2 on 1s, he did a very good job of taking the pass away. His passes were almost always crisp and right on the tape.

At one point, there was a mini-breakaway contest. The losers had to do push-ups.

After this session was done, Weaver got in between Crosby and Armstrong and was trying to pick off passes. Some got through, but he was pretty good at blocking them. His hand-eye coordination is pretty good and his hands are quick.

Later, Armstrong left and Whitney took his place. Eventually Whitney got in the middle, and then Sid did. At one point, he went down to block the pass and basically did a sliding soccer tackle on Whitney who fell on top of him. Sid hurried to his feet and skated off with the intercepted puck, a big smile on his face.

In the second group, I split my attention between Angelo Esposito, Alex Goligoski, and Kris Letang.

In watch Esposito, it's easy to see why he was so highly regarded leading up to the draft. His skating is very good, both in terms of speed and agility, his puck skills are also very good, and for the most part, can pass, shoot, and stickhandle well at his top speed. You can also tell that while he's very talented, he still has a bit to go before he's NHL ready. At times, he looked unsure of where exactly to be, and that hesitation slows him down. Towards the end of practice, Esposito gave one of his sticks to a little kid behind the bench.

Goligoski and Letang might be mirror images of each other. Both are smaller, offensively talented defensemen that skate well. Just going off today's drills, the differences are that Letang is right handed and has a better shot, while Goligoski is left handed and was better in his end, particularly in using his stick to take away passes. Letang was up and down in his end.

One other trivial note: most everyone seemed to be wearing new socks. They mostly black, but have a large white strip down the back of each leg. When I first saw them, I thought someone was skating with just thier shinpads and no socks.

Pictures from today are here: http://letsgopens.com/scripts/photos/thumbnails.php?album=15

Back to Netwolf's Camp Report List

 
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