PENGUINS DEVELOPMENT CAMP: DAY 3 RECAP
By Mike O'Brien
Hello Penguins Fans on a beautiful day in Pittsburgh. The third day of the team’s Development Camp got underway this morning with drills by Penguins Skating Instructor Marianne Watkins. After 30 minutes of instruction, the coaches set up the nets and barriers for some 3-on-3 hockey.
Talking to players and coaches beforehand, most of all them mentioned how they were looking forward to this session. The off-ice testing and the drills are all well and good, but everyone just wanted to play some hockey. The team broke into two teams – black and white – with two half-ice “courts” set up on opposite ends of the rink and when the whistle blew, the action began.
Forward and second-year pro Brian Gibbons scored roughly ten seconds into it, going blocker side of former St. Cloud State goalie Ryan Faragher. From there though, offense was hard to come by as the hitting, intensity and defensive play was ratcheted up the entire time.
Players that stood out:
- Second-round draft pick Scott Harrington showed off his offensive skill when the blueliner gathered a loose puck in front of Sean Maguire and roofed it over the goaltender in a blink of an eye. Unfortunately, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fans won’t have a chance to see him this season. Unless he makes the big club, he’ll be returned to his junior team, the London Knights of the OHL.
- Paul Thompson is playing with the same edge that defined the second half of his rookie season. He seemed to have no reservations putting a body on anyone and everyone during the 3- on-3 session.
- You can tell that Simon Despres spent much of his off-season thus far in the weight room. He is leaner and looks to have packed on some muscle as well. Coaches have had very positive reviews about his conditioning. Most noticeable, however, is his play on the ice. Whether it’s because of his 18 games of NHL experience last year or the inherent talent he possesses, Despres exhibited a patience and poise this morning that makes you forget that he is only 20 years old. I hope to have more with Simon tomorrow.
- Zach Sill was his usual tenacious self, providing chatter, encouragement and an example for the younger players.
- Dominik Uher, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins “Black Ace” from last season’s playoffs, has a non-stop motor and WBS Head Coach John Hynes specifically mentioned this when I talked to him later in the day.
It was the “fun” day of the week for the Penguins prospects. They got to battle on the ice during the morning and then on the field of battle in the afternoon with some paintball. Rumors that Zach Sill was donning a full-on ghillie suit for the games were confirmed by those on-site. No word as to whether it actually helped or hindered his performance.
I had a chance to sit down with Coach Hynes and a couple of the players today. You can find the interviews below. The laughter at the end of the Brian Gibbons interview belongs, of course, to Sill.
The players are back on the ice tomorrow morning for drills and instruction. I’ll be tweeting updates (@MikeOBrienWBS) and will have more interviews at here. Until tomorrow…