With training camp set to open in three days, one important aspect that has been overlooked is the importance of head coach Dan Bylsma having an entire training camp to implement his system.
The Penguins moved to a more up-tempo system under Bylsma when he took over as head coach on February 15, 2009 but Bylsma never had the a full three weeks to implement his system .
Last year everything was on the run.
Three puck moving defensemen an asset to have
Rob Scuderi was a key loss for the Penguins and according to some so was Hal Gill. The Penguins will replace Scuderi and Gill with veteran Jay McKee and puck moving defenseman Alex Goligoski. If healthy, McKee can fill Scuderi’s role.
The player that the coaching staff is excited about is Alex Goligoski. He plays the kind of game where he will benefit in Bylsma’s system.
What the Penguins now have is three puck moving defensemen in their lineup, which is something they haven’t had since the 2007-2008 season, due to injuries and the trade of Ryan Whitney.
Goligoski has been training extensively in Minnesota all summer with a number of former college teammates including Blake Wheeler.
Staal’s line to play more of a scoring line role
One storyline to watch will the coaching staff looking to use the Penguins third line of Matt Cooke – Jordan Staal – Tyler Kennedy into more of a scoring role.
There is word that the staff wants to see Staal’s line on the offensive attack more and they won’t just be counted on to a play a checking line role.
Training Camp Invites Buzz
For now Pittsburgh has come up empty on training camp invites. The did have talks with defenseman Martin Skoula and to some extent Christian Backman. Both players accepted camp invites with the Florida Panthers and were looking for a chance to earn a top 6 spot
There has been nothing new on the Francois Bullion front. Like Skoula, Pittsburgh would like to bring him into camp but it’s a longshot right now.
On Sunday there was talk that Maxim Afinogenov had discussions with Pittsburgh and Minnesota regarding a camp invite.
Pittsburgh has considered Afinogenov (only on camp invite) internally but has not moved on it. When reached for comment, Afinogenov’s camp would not confirm if Pittsburgh interested but did mentioned they are talking to several teams and looking for the right fit in the NHL first, before exploring other options.
Look for a team to take a chance on Robert Lang at somepoint this season.
Promotional Schedule Announced
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS 2009-10 PROMOTIONAL SCHEDULE
Fri., Oct. 2 NY Rangers Penguins Replica Stanley Cup Mini-Banner
Wed., Oct. 7 Phoenix Penguins Schedule Mouse Pad
Fri., Oct. 23 Florida Penguins Team Calendar
Sat., Nov. 28 NY Rangers Penguins Baseball Cap
Thurs., Dec. 3 Colorado Pennsylvania Lottery Scratch-Off Ticket
Mon., Dec. 21 New Jersey Penguins Fleece Gloves
Thurs., Jan. 7 Philadelphia Penguins Cooler Bag
Tues., Jan. 19 NY Islanders Penguins Messenger Bag
Tues., Mar. 2 Buffalo Penguins Upper Deck Trading Cards
Thurs., Apr. 8 NY Islanders Fan Appreciation Night/Shirts Off Our Backs