Day 3 Penguins Camp Report: Crosby line in top form; Despres rebounds; Notable prospects showing promise & more buzz

The Penguins top line of Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis were dominant for the second straight scrimmage as Crosby’s squad defeated Evgeni Malkin’s group 4-1 in today’s scrimmage. Kris Letang scored twice, while Crosby and Dupuis added goals for Group B.
Jean Sebastien-Dea scored the only goal for Group C. Tomas Vokoun played the first half for Group B and posted a shutout for the second straight day.
The Crosby line already looks to be on the different level than everyone else and the fast pace they play at compared to lets say the Malkin line is just something else.
“You kind of trust where everyone’s going to be,” Crosby said afterwards of the chemistry with Kunitz and Dupuis.
Speaking of Dupuis, he is having a great camp so far.
*Simon Despres rebounded today with solid play in the scrimmage. The coaching staff wants Despres to play with more physicality and he brought it today. Despres aggressiveness saw him catching Sidney Crosby with his head down at center ice for a hit. Crosby was not mad about the hit and Bylsma had no problem with it.
“It’s a hockey rule, it was a clean hit,” Bylsma said of Despres hit on Crosby. “Simon made the right read and right play and {I} liked every part of it,” Bylsma said.
*Scott Harrington continues to look like an NHL player out there. Harrington had another strong day in the scrimmage and while his game is about great defensive instincts, hockey smarts and positioning, Harrington has flashed a good first pass and has been really poised with the puck. Very interested to see how he fares in the preseason.
*Andrew Ebbett looks like a player who should put himself in position to be among the Penguins first callups this season. While he’s smallish, he’s the type of player I believe Bylsma will like.
*Like the prospect camp, my opinion of top prospects Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot hasn’t changed in that Maatta looks like the better prospect, which is an opinion many evaluators out there seem to have despite Pouliot being picked 14 spots ahead of Maatta in the 2012 draft. Maatta just has that ability of being a do it all defensemen. He performed well in today’s scrimmage and was really good at cleaning up his own end. Pouliot yesterday looked like a deer in headlights when going up against the Crosby line. That wasn’t the case with Maatta today.
*The Penguins have few legitimate NHL caliber prospects at the forward position but I wouldn’t write off 2010 4th round pick Tom Kuhnhackl just yet.

Kuhnhackl was very involved offensively in the scrimmage and the puck seemed to be following him which is a positive. He didn’t look over matched and the extra work he’s been putting in on board play seems to be paying off. Important year coming up for him in WBS.
*I liked Zach Sill’s ability to get to loose pucks on the forecheck in the scrimmage. A strength of his and it showed today.
*Kris Letang was firing the puck today and blistered a shot past Eric Hartzell for a beautiful goal in the second frame. It had one scout say of Letang, “see what happens when he hits the net.”
*Speaking to one individual in the know on who stood out to him in the scrimmage; Adam Payerl was among the players mentioned and Payerl garnered praise for knowing how to use his big frame down low and in around the net. It will be big for the Penguins if Payerl can develop into a regular at the NHL level as early as next season as the Penguins lack a player in the bottom-6 that possesses the size and strength he has.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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