Monday’s Camp Tidbits on Upcoming Roster cuts & Practice Notes

Monday’s Camp Buzz

The Pittsburgh Penguins are entering the final week of camp and things are at the stage where there are two more rounds of cuts to make within the next week.

“I think you’ll probably see two more cuts, ” head coach Dan Bylsma said today. “Game 4 {Tuesday night vs LA in KC} is still a little bit of experimenting with lineups, line combinations and power plays. Games 5 (9/30 @ Chicago) and 6 (10/2 @ Detroit) would be more along the lines of line combinations and power play units. Treating those {games} almost like regular season games and trying to get the team focused on the routine of how we play and how we prepare and also how we play as a group of 20.”
Indications are the team will make 10-12 cuts by mid-week, and go into the final two preseason games with around 27-29 players on the roster.
With available cap space and starting the season on a western Canada swing, the Penguins are believed to be leaning towards carrying max 23 players, including 14 forwards.
With Crosby and Dustin Jeffrey probably starting the season on injured reserved, 3 forwards spots are up for grabs. I will break down some buzz I’m hearing on those position battles and other tidbits later today.

Sidney Crosby Audio for September 26

*Sidney Crosby practiced in today’s final group session and participated in a controlled scrimmage for the second day in a row. He continues to feel good but doctors are not ready yet to integrate contact, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. The key for now has been Crosby getting through the motions of high intensity, uptempo practices. Nothing really new to report today, except that he continues to look good.
*Steve Sullivan has been held out of all three preseason games up until this point but expects to see some action this week. He practiced again today and through the weekend after being limited for much of last week with a groin injury.
*All signs continue to point to the Penguins top-3 lines on opening night being:
Sullivan – Malkin – Neal
Kunitz – Staal – Kennedy
Cooke – Letestu – Dupuis
Joe Vitale centered the 4th line today with Craig Adams on right wing and Eric Tangradi filling in for Arron Asham who was given a maitanece day.
*It does not look promising for Jason Williams (groin) to be able to play tomorrow night. He skated on his own today but is not ready to return to full practice yet. He will likely miss his 4th straight game. Williams inability to play in the preseason has diminished his roster spot chances.
*There has been some mixed opinions on James Neal’s performance so far on the right side, with many observers not being sold on the switch. Head coach Dan Bylsma doesn’t see it as a concern yet.
“At times he’s {James Neal} done very well with his line on the right side, ” Bylsma said. We’re going to get more examples of that over the next three games….. so it’s not a real concern at this particular time.”
*2011 draft choices Joe Morrow and Scott Harrington remain with the team as the Penguins continue to use a normal camp strategy with their top prospects, most notably defensemen, giving them some valuable experience.
Notes
The Penguins will conclude the 2011 preseason with a trio of road games this week beginning with Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings in Kansas City at 8 p.m. (eastern). All three games will be broadcast will be carried on radio – on flagship station 105.9 The X, on Penguins HD radio and on pittsburghpenguins.com.
Steve Mears and two-time Stanley Cup champion Phil Bourque will have the call for all three games.
The Penguins conclude their preseason schedule with visits to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sept. 30 (8:30 p.m.) and the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 2 (5 p.m.).
PCNC will televise the Detroit game with Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey having the call.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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