The three games for the Penguins prospects went pretty well. Even though the Pens fell to the Ottawa squad in the first game, they continued to outwork and outperform their opponents. Many chances went unfinished, which is not all that much of a concern considering that it’s the beginning of the season and not many players have been on the ice shooting and stick handling yet. But the forecheck pressure on the opposing team’s defensemen was undeniably effective.
The Penguins then proceeded to beat a very solid Toronto team, applying constant pressure and keeping a very high tempo. The Penguins ended up with a 4-1 win, with solid skating and action throughout. Luca Caputi had a couple assists, with goals from Nathan Moon, Dustin Jeffrey, Robert Bortuzzo, and camp invite Justin Dowling.
The final game against Boston saw the Penguins out shooting the Bruins 49-20, and winning on the score board 3-2. The Bruins had been 2-0 in the tournament, but the Penguins swarmed over them and took the victory. The game could have been much worse. Casey PierroZabotel, Andy Bathgate, and Kevin Veilleux scored for the Penguins, with Jonathan D’Aversa and Lane Caffaro each picking up a couple assists.
Joe Vitale and Robert Bortuzzo showed up with strong play in the beginning of the tournament, and are considered as the top two players to enhance their stature in the Penguins organization.
Eric Tangradi began to show his upside as the games progressed. He really seemed to start becoming acclimated to the Penguin system, and clearly was a leader on the ice. His play improved the entire time, and was a real force in and around the net. Very curious to see if he continues his progress in camp: the Penguins definitely want to have him spend the year in the AHL, but Mr. Tangradi seems set on making his performance speak for itself. He certainly raised his level enough that the Penguins might consider him as a dark horse for that open spot on Malkin’s line. He definitely has all of the tools and work ethic to do it.
Number one pick Simon Depres looked solid and played well, giving the Penguins what they were hoping for in his performance. He is to attend Penguins training camp (which starts today by the way), but his return to his Junior team is imminent after camp ends.
Luca Caputi and Dustin Jeffrey provided the team with the expected ‘solid play’, and Kevin Veilleux quietly played effective two-way hockey. I think the Penguins would have wanted to see more from him, but he did not hurt his stock by his play.
The team as a whole performed well, and it was neat to see the Penguin prospects continue to play the ‘attack hockey’ system that was taught during the prospect camp earlier in the summer. Coach Dan Bylsma has said on record that the Penguins will play the same brand of hockey throughout the organization, and the prospects have certainly acquitted themselves quite well to so far. Look for Mr. Byslma to further add to the system this training camp, and maybe even make the style of play more aggressive.
We will have some more for you tomorrow after the first practice!
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