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AM Camp Log: Pouliot shines, Fleury rebounds in Day 3 scrimmage.


A warm – though not in this building – greetings from Day 3 of Penguins camp, where practices are, and a scrimmage was, open to the public. Speaking of said scrimmage…


Group A (Team Orpik) 3, Group C (Team Malkin) 0

Goals: RW Matt D’Agostini, LW Jussi Jokien and D Derrick Pouliot

Some observations:

= Pouliot was often mesmerizing – especially with puck on his blade – and his set up of Jokinen’s goal was the highlight of Saturday. His goal was pretty sweet too.

= Pouliot is not NHL ready yet, and though he is often a special-looking player, it is the all-around game of Olli Maatta that has really stood out. Many within management project Maatta to be on a faster NHL track than Pouliot, but this season will be a crucial one in terms of development for the Penguins’ 2012 first-round picks.

= Marc-Andre Fleury started for Group A and looked a lot better than his Day 1 scrimmage, in which he surrendered four goals. He was not challenged much on Day 3, but he did pitch a first-half shutout.

Again, readying anything into Fleury’s “play” in Day 3 would be as ridiculous as reading into his “play” from Day 1. Point being, when Fleury actually starts playing – THIS IS ALL PRACTICE – then (maybe) it will be worthy of critique.


= So, a lot has been made – starting with this report: – about D Simon Despres during this camp. Some are fair, but one is not.

Indeed, Despres lagged behind during skating drills on Day 1, but his slowness was not due to being out of shape. In fact, coaches view him as being in the best shape of his young NHL career.

Turns out, Despres was ill on Day 1, but insisted on taking the skating drills. He won points with many for that decision, too.


= Finally, for now, it is a big BLUE football day, with the planet’s most respectable club (Everton) taking on those front-running rich kids supported by a certain Penguins’ official (Chelsea).

Choose sides, but choose on the side of the right and proper.



Be Excellent to each other,






Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

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