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On location: Penguins development camp scrimmage

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to faceoff …

Game: Penguins annual development camp scrimmage

Time: 3:05 p.m.

Site: Consol Energy Center

Radio: Penguins Radio 24/7

Josh Yohe and I are on the scene, and I’ll be writing my Sunday column from here.

For those who don’t know, admission and parking to this event are free. But it draws into the thousands, so showing up a little early is advised.

Here’s some of my talk with No. 1 prospect Derrick Pouliot

And likewise with another top D-man Scott Harrington

When I come back, I’ll post a few thoughts on the scrimmage in this space.

UPDATE 5:14 p.m.: And here are those thoughts, in absolutely no order …

>> Best player at any position was Olli Maatta. So poised, so patient, you almost want to see mayhem to see how he reacts. Easily the closest to making the parent club, as the Penguins’ development people will quietly acknowledge. Easily the MVP, too. Not at the level Simon Despres once was, but in a different way.

>> Pouliot was patient, too, but that doesn’t suit him nearly as much. He gets complacent, floats off. That was a little disappointing, though I always stress with these things that it’s one game, one observation. Doesn’t mean much. His talent is there, and it was his rush into the attacking zone — and slick pass to the right — that set up Matia Marcantuoni’s opening goal.

>> This camp was dominated by defense, for reasons everyone knows. Not going to jump on the soapbox about that again, but I will say that it’s just got to be unsettling for management to see only two forwards here who can even skate an NHL level: Jayson Megna and Marcantuoni. That’s not good enough, no matter your first-round priorities.

>> If Megna challenges for a roster spot this fall, the Penguins will be in for a rough year. There’s speed and skill, but his build is so slight I couldn’t see him surviving a month.

>> Was only a couple years ago that Scott Harrington lit up this camp with a Bobby Orr-like scrimmage. He’s settled a ton since then, really simplified his game, and I’d guess that has a lot to do with being paired with Maatta in London.


>> Tristan Jarry — pictured in this lame shot I took — manned the net for the scrimmage’s second half and generally impressed by how unlike his personality his goaltending is: Really calm, economy-of-motion style, swallows up rebounds, quick glove. That was in stark contrast to when he was on the bench and squirmed around as if someone had poured motor oil down his pants.

>> Brian Dumoulin is the other defenseman on whom I focused, and he’s smart, steady and decidedly unspectacular with the puck. I couldn’t muster another sentence about him, though, if my life depended on it.

>> Harrisson Ruopp = Robert Bortuzzo.

>> One off-the-beaten-path name I’ll toss out is D-man Ryan Segalla, a fourth-rounder last month who, unlike most of these players, made sure he got noticed: Every hit, every shove, every marking of an opponent was targeted high. Not talking about cheap shots. Just simple follow-throughs, all up toward the head. Borderline legal, but let’s not pretend hockey coaches don’t love having those guys on their side.

That’s all I’ve got. Thousands of people there, as usual.

I’ll have a Sunday column about the Olympics as it relates to the Penguins and other Pittsburgh storylines. Hope you can check it out.

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Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

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