Eric Majeski's (aka Netwolf) Camp Reports for LetsGoPens.com
Camp 2008, Session 3
September 19, 2008
Brown played the first period, Fleury was in for the 2nd and 3rd.
Boogaard, Gove, Haddad, Mormina, and Pierro-Zabotel did not scrimmage, though all did participate in drills.
Curry played the first period, Sabourin was in for the 2nd and 3rd.
Johnson, Minard and Veilleux did not scrimmage. As with the other "scratches", they all did participate in drills.
*Denotes a lineup change from yesterday's scrimmage.
Curry (W), Brown (B) in net...
Yesterday, the Black team's top line got off to a quick start but couldn't capitalize. Today it was Team White's turn. Some quick passing resulted in Sidney Crosby all alone with the puck to Dave Brown's left. Brown dove across and somehow managed to keep the puck out. Unbelievable save by Brown, who showed incredible quickness to even have a shot at the save.
Black Goal (Black led 1-0) Taffe (Kennedy) - Tyler Kennedy wheeled through the neutral zone backing the defense off with his speed, then made a great pass to Jeff Taffe, who was busting down the slot.
White Goal (Tied 1-1) Satan (Crosby, Lovejoy) - Crosby's vision and passing combined with Miroslav Satan's ability to find the open ice ala Petr Sykora combined to give Satan an easy layup.
Sabourin (W), Fleury (B) in net...
Black Goal (Black led 2-1) Sykora (Malkin, Staal) - Jordan Staal controlled the puck behind the net and fed over to Evgeni Malkin in the corner. Sykora found the soft spot in the zone and Malkin found him. Sykora let go what may have been the hardest shot I've ever seen in person. Dany Sabourin is still looking for it, and there's nothing he could have done anyway.
White Goal (Tied 2-2) Wallace (Stone, Letestu) - Mark Letestu threaded a great pass to Ryan Stone, who had set up in the slot. There was a man on him, but he was able to get set up for an excellent wrist shot. Marc-Andre Fleury's reflexes enabled him to get most of it, but the puck trickled through him. It was likely going in anyway, but Wallace in behind the defense and made sure.
A few moments later, Stone made a diving play in the offensive zone to get the puck back to the defense to keep the possession going. He was rewarded with another great scoring chance, but this time Fleury stopped him. This save was almost as good as Brown's early one on Crosby.
Black Goal (Black led 3-2) Malkin (Sykora, Staal) - Brooks Orpik fanned on an attempted pass to Sergei Gonchar and Staal picked it up. He got the puck to Sykora, who one-timed it towards Sabourin, who made the save. Malkin was there to collect the rebound and bank it in, possible off Orpik's stick.
Black Goal (Black led 4-2) Pesonen (Taffe) - Perfect example of why you should always pay attention. I was jotting something down about the last goal, and Pesonen scores shortly after the faceoff. Jesse tells me it was a heck of a backhand shot though.
White Goal (Black led 4-3) Satan (Richmond, Lovejoy) - Crosby got control of the puck down low along the right wing boards. He passed up to Ben Lovejoy, who walked the blueline and passed to Danny Richmond. Richmond threw a wrister towards the goal and Satan deflected it about 10-15 feet out in front of Fleury.
White Penalty Shot: Stone tripped up Kris Letang. He deked to the forehand around an attempted pokecheck, but could get the puck over Sabourin's left pad.
White Goal (Tied 4-4) Fedotenko (Crosby, Talbot) - With 1:02 left in the third, Ruslan Fedotenko converted another layup created by a Crosby pass on a tic tac toe play started by Max Talbot. No chance for Fleury whatsoever.
The first White shooter was Satan. He didn't make much of a move, just skated in, opened his stick a bit, then shot wide.
Black sent out Letang. This time, Letang made no mistake and beat Sabourin with his deke to the backhand.
Next up for White was Fedotenko. He skated down and just ripped a wrist shot by Fleury's glove, right under the crossbar.
Malkin was the next shooter for the Black team. He came down with speed and beat Sabourin with the left-handed version of the move Letang used. He was giving it a little to the White bench after scoring, all in good fun.
Crosby stepped up for White. He came a little wider than the others, curling back towards the slot at the top of the left wing circle. Fleury came out with a diving poke check, knocking the puck off Crosby's stick and back tot he neutral zone; the hockey equivalent of someone knocking a shot into the 10th row in a basketball game. You could tell Fleury really relished pulling that save off, and he let Crosby know about it too, riding his goal stick like a horse in celebration.
Team Black wins the shootout 2-1 and the game 5-4.
Rob Scuderi was still absent and Michel Therrien was only on the ice for the first practice.
If you had any concerns about team chemistry or depth after some of the departures this summer, let me ease them for you. This group appears every bit a tight as last year's, maybe even more so. As far as the "in the room" kind of thing goes, Talbot is still here clowning on everyone, Fleury goes back an forth with a lot of forwards (especially Sykora it seems), and even Malkin is getting into the act at times. Matt Cooke fits right in and will have many fans forgetting about Jarrko Ruutu before too long. Satan might not make people forget Marian Hossa, but in the goal scoring department, he's every bit as dangerous. He does give Crosby a legitimate goal scoring threat on his wing. Staal's offensive hunger seems to be re-ignited now that he's back with Malkin, and the top two lines are going to be "going Globetrotters" on many teams this year, to borrow a phrase fro Pierre McGuire. Some of the passing I've seen from both lines has been unbelievable. Talbot's line may not have the size you want out of checking forwards, but their speed and style of play will frustrate a lot of people. Fedotenko's presence there also provides some scoring ability as well. The candidates for the 4th line add a variety of things from the energy of Kennedy and the skill of Janne Pesonen, to the physicality of Eric Godard and Stone and the two-way play of Taffe and Kris Beech. Who gets those spots is going to largely be determined by what the coaching staff wants out of that line. The defense corps is in great shape as well. Gonchar is coming off what many consider to be his best season ever, and Orpik appears to have realized the potential the Pens saw when he was drafted. Ryan Whitney's injury does leave a hole, but Letang seems ready to help fill that void. Mark Eaton is back and healthy and will help afford Letang the opportunities to unleash some of that offensive talent. I believe Darryl Sydor still has enough left to be a contributor in both ends of the rink. Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi are solid defenders in their own end and good penalty killers. Alex Goligoski is waiting in the wings as well. Fleury is right where he left off last year, and like Orpik, appearing to realize his potential. This is a really, really good team here and the upcoming season should be a great one.
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