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Insider Only On Asham, Goligoski ….and more thoughts from Tuesday’s skate

Tuesday’s Camp Buzz

*I spoke today with Arron Asham regarding the move from Peter Laviolette’s puck moving system into Dan Bylsma’s uptempo offensive system with Pittsburgh.
Both coach similar type of styles which has helped Asham in the early going but adjustments are still needed in certain areas Asham told me today.
“It’s been coming to me pretty easily, Asham told Inside Pittsburgh Sports. Despite somewhat of an easy transition, two areas of Bylsma’s system Asham told me he is still adjusting to is on the forecheck and his placement in the neutral zone.

“I’ve been having a little bit of trouble {Forecheck, Neutral Zone}, ” Asham said. “Working on the forecheck in the neutral zone and that sort of stuff. You know it’s going to take time, we still have a few weeks to go before the season starts and I’ll be ready to go by then.
Asham has been a fixture on the third line with Matt Cooke and has been pleased with their chemistry thus far.
Who ends up centering the two on opening night remains to be seen but Max Talbot is getting that opportunity this week. It will be intriguing to see if Talbot becomes the best fit with Asham and Cooke as all three play similar styles which could make them a very difficult line to play against.
“I think we’re very similar in style, all three of us, “Asham said. “From the games we’ve been playing together, we’ve been playing alright. Like i said, it’s going to take some again with your linemates to gel and to know where they are on the ice. I’m sure we’ll be fine by the time season comes around.”
*Unlike Brooks Orpik and Kris Letang who are adjusting to new partners in Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin respectively, Alex Goligoski appears to be having a smooth transition with likely D-partner Ben Lovejoy.
The two have a familiarity with each other dating back to their time together in Wilkes Barre. I spoke with Goligoski today and he appears much more comfortable with Lovejoy than he did last season with Jay McKee or Jordan Leopold.
“Me and Ben have played together longer than I ever did with Jay or Jordan, Goligoski said. “We’re real comfortable with each other and it’s always kind of been like that.”
Camp Thoughts:
*During the non-game group practice session today, defenseman Robert Bortuzzo was excellent in 1-on-1 drills down low. He really stood out and continues to catch my eye. Tremendous positioning for a young defenseman, keeps incoming forwards to the outside and his physical skills are really coming into focus.
*Nick Johnson will be in the lineup tonight but I’ve been kind of disappointed not to see him get any reps with Malkin and Mike Comrie thus far in camp. He really appears to be on the outside looking in right now. Johnson’s a player who eventually likely needs to leave the Penguins organization to get a legitimate shot at the NHL level. In Pittsburgh he’s going to continue to face a numbers game.
*Hearing a lot of positive vibes regarding defenseman Andrew Hutchinson who is coming on of late.

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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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