A good Friday morning to the Dear Readers, and now a quick hit regarding the local NHL club…
= The Penguins’ roster is down to 29 players after the latest round of training-camp cuts: Re-assigned to the AHL on Thursday were forwards Zach Sill and Harry Zolnierczyk and defenseman Brian Dumoulin. Zolnierczyk had until noon Friday to clear waivers.
The Penguins no doubt hope Zolnierczyk does clear, because there are many within the organization that seem to think he will be able to impact some success during the regular-season. He is a natural-born agitator, but one who can skate well – always a must for a player looking to play in coach Dan Bylsma’s system. It is not hard to envision Zolnierczyk being among the first forwards recalled if the Penguins need bottom-six help.
Dumoulin arrived at camp with the slimmest of chances to make the roster, mostly because the Penguins do have seven defensemen on one-way contracts and another, Simon Despres, who played a lot last season. Still, it was clear that members of management believed highly in Dumoulin, often referring to him as “NHL ready,” and it seems – when inevitable injuries strike – he will be among the first defensemen promoted. (Notable is that an injury did not help Dumoulin during camp.)
= Speaking of injuries: Brooks Orpik’s does not appear to be serious. At least, not according to any information recently received.
= The Penguins leave early Friday for a bonding activity at the United States Military Academy, but unlike past trips this getaway will not be heavy on physical activity. Coaches described the most physically taxing events as the on-ice practices. Players had not idea what to expect, but it sounds as though they can expect a lot of mental exercises.
Given that one of the buzzwords from management over the summer, at least regarding the many holdovers, was “focus,” perhaps it should come as no surprise that this bonding activity will be heavy on the mental aspect of team support.
Another buzzword was “maturity,” but we can touch more on that later.
= It was a real nice event, the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, at Consol Energy Center on Thursday. It also was maybe a sign of something bigger to come:
= The #TribHKY team kicks off our unofficial build up to the regular season on Sunday. A teaser quote from a player to be the focus of our main story:
“I think a lot. My head is always thinking about a loss. … It (was) a little bit tough all summer.”
Can you guess?
= Stop by Quaker Steak & Lube in Robinson on Friday night to say hello to Penguins broadcaster Phil Bourque (and somebody else *cough*). The fun starts at 7 p.m. Ask about goal predictions, which are always worth a laugh (especially those made by the somebody else.)
Be Excellent to each other,