Eric Majeski's (aka Netwolf) Camp Reports for LetsGoPens.com
2014 Development Camp, Day 2
July 16, 2014
Today's action saw all the practice groups broken up by position. The four goaltenders came out a little early to work on things with Pens goalie coach Mike Bales and the Pens goaltending development coach Mike Buckley. They stayed on throughout the morning. The forwards came out next, and the defensemen finished things off.
As the forwards filtered out of the locker room, Wilkes-Barre head coach John Hynes took to the ice with a can of spray paint. He painted a pair of lines from the goal posts out to the blue line. This set up the opening drill, which stressed puck possession. Six skaters were on offense, three on either side of Hynes' newly marked slot area. The defending team only had three skaters and two of them had to remain in the slot at all times, with the third guy attacking the puck. Occasionally, a fourth defender would be added. There were no nets or goalies. The offensive team had to maintain possession or make a clean pass to a teammate. Throwing the puck to open space or chipping it along the wall was not an option here.
Kasperi Kapanen stood out the most for me here. He was strong on the puck, holding on to it until a good play became available. He was very good at using his skating and stickhandling to maintain control of the puck, even under pressure. His passes were crisp and on-target.
JS Dea also looked good here. I remember him being a guy that was able to dart in and out of traffic easily last year, and nothing has changed in that regard. He's very quick.
The next drill saw assistant coach Rick Tocchet break out some football-style tackling pads. Forwards would skate into the zone, stickhandle through an obstacle, and take a shot on goal. They then had the unenviable task of going into the corner with Tocchet (at least he had pads instead of a stick!) as a puck was dumped down the wall. They had to work off the contact from Tocchet out of the corner, and take the puck to the net. Another coach was set up in the opposite corner to handle a second line of forwards.
Adam Payerl stood out the most in this drill, which likely surprises no one. He's listed at 6'3", 218 and plays a grinding, power forward game. He also ripped a few pretty nice shots by the goaltenders as well. The Pens will have 12 forwards once RFAs Brandon Sutter and Nick Spaling are re-signed. Assuming they'd like to carry one extra, there is a spot available. You'd think Payerl would be one of the candidates for that spot.
The final drill basically added two nets to the initial setup for an oddly-oriented, half-ice, 6 on 6 game plus goalies. Any time I've seen half-ice scrimmages, the nets have been on the half-wall, facing each other. This was set up with Hynes' slot area cutting that end of the rink in half and the nets parallel to each other on the goal line, lined up with the faceoff dots. It got pretty crowded out there, and at one point, Dominik Uher and Oscar Sundqvist had a pretty good battle on the wall near one of the nets. Those two could form 2/3 of a pretty agitating, grinding line in the not-too-distant future. Uher could be in the mix with Payerl for that 13th forward spot this fall.
Hynes pretty much ran the forward practice, though Tocchet was in charge of the corner battle drill. Wilkes-Barre assistant Alain Nasreddine ran the defense practice. Pens head coach Mike Johnston was not on the ice today, but was in the stands throughout, often talking with GM Jim Rutherford.
There wasn't a lot to talk about with regards to the defense practice. There was a lot of skating and puck retrieval work, and they closed things out with point shots. There were no battle/competition type drills like the forwards had; it was more about individual skills. Top prospects Brian Dumoulin and Scott Harrington looked like guys that have been there the most. It kind of looked like they could handle this kind of practice without much effort to be honest. Nick D'Agostino and this year's 7th rounder, Jeff Taylor, stood out as far as mobility for me. Dumoulin and D'Agostino seemed to have the best shots.
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