Rookie Camp Warm Up Game

If you’re starved for a little hockey action, you have finally been granted a little bit of a reprieve. And because Canadians are so enthusiastic about their hockey, you could even watch an announced version of the game online. The Penguins prospects played the Toronto Maple Leafs rookie team in Kitchener Memorial Auditorium in Ontario last evening in the warm up game to the 3 game tournament that starts today. The Penguins will start the tournament by playing against the Ottawa Senator’s rookie squad at 7 PM tonight, followed by games against the Leafs on Wednesday evening at 7PM, and then Boston Bruins at 2PM on Thursday.

The game last night was a bit lopsided in the beginning, with the Leafs coming out flying and eventually winning the game 3-1. To give the benefit of the doubt to the Penguins squad, quite a few players for the Leafs have a very solid chance of making the NHL is upcoming year. This includes prized free agent signing Jonas Gustavsson, who will get an estimated 30 starts with the main squad for Toronto this year, if not more. The 24-year-old nicknamed ‘The Monster’, he made 35 saves on 36 shots and played a very decisive factor in net. It was safe to say that he was the star of the game, and made numerous great saves to keep the game in the hands of the Leafs.

The Leafs also played Viktor Stalberg, Tyler Bozak, 1st round pick Nazem Kadri, and Pittsburgh native Christian Hanson, all of whom could spend time with the Leafs this year. In particular, Stalberg looked great and scored a goal with the assist from Boazk, and Kadri played an extremely solid game as well.

It was not all terrible for the Penguin side. The beginning was very tough and the team looked very overwhelmed. It did not help that the Penguins scratched Dustin Jeffrey, who would essentially equate to the team #1 Center and would have had a calming influence on the team. But as the game progressed, the Penguins continued to improve their game and place pressure on the Leafs. The end of the game could very easily have been a different result.

Patrick Killeen looked extremely solid in net and kept the Penguins in it early, only allowing a goal to Stalberg while the Leafs had a two-man advantage in the 1st period. He truly didn’t have much chance on the goal. He continued to play solid, until he let in an extremely soft goal with 2:29 remaining in the game (the puck was shot from a really bad angle, hit him in the mask, dropped to his feet, and rolled in between his legs). It was such an unfortunate outcome for a young goalie that had performed so well the rest of the game. The remaining Leaf goal was scored via empty net.

Other bright spots for the Penguins including Joe Vitale, who scored the only Penguin goal on a deflection of a point shot by Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo in the 3rd. This was fitting as Vitale played with energy and grit the entire game and stood out for the squad, as well as Bortuzzo having a very nice game on the back line. Vitale was arguably the best Penguin skater on the ice.

Luca Caputi, Kevin Veilleux, Eric Johnson, and Eric Tangradi had decent games, but nothing to write home about. Tangradi had a great chance in the 3rd period that required a really good save by Gustavsson, but he was not that much of a factor the rest of the game. Of these three, it is unfortunate (but true) to suggest that none of them showed the skill or prowess that would warrant time in the NHL this season. Hopefully the next three games will show their skill a little more.

Odds and ends:

There were two fights: Toronto forward Richard Greenop, who recorded 156 penalty minutes in 60 games for the Memorial Cup-champion Windsor Spitfires last season, earned a decision against Pittsburgh's Ryan Schnell, while Berry, another big Leaf, drew with the smaller Zach Sill. Schnell is highly regarded as a potential heavy weight fighter, and his time in Wilkes-Barre will surely show this in the upcoming year.

3,755 attended the game.

Penguins dominated the face-off circle, winning 41 of 68

The Penguins wore their white jerseys, but something just didn’t seem quite right. I just passed it off as being nothing, and started concentrating on the action again. It was ten minutes into the game before I realized that they were wearing black helmets, and that’s what made it look weird. I wasn’t going completely crazy. Only partially…


Post a Comment

Facebook Twitter Delicious Digg Favorites More Stumbleupon