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Insider Only Tuesday’s Penguins Camp Buzz



Despite talk of open competition for the top-2 line left wing spots, there hasn’t been much experimenting from the coaching staff with the season opener nine days away.

Chris Kunitz has been firmly entrenched on Sidney Crosby’s left wing, while other than Conor Sheary getting a game on Evgeni Malkin’s left wing, it’s been Sergei Plotnikov on Evgeni Malkin’s wing for much of camp and that will be the case again tonight in Johnstown for the Hockeyville USA game vs the Tampa Bay Lightning.

With Nick Bonino seeing his first action of the season Monday night, Mike Johnston got his first look at a third line of Dupuis – Bonino – Perron, a unit the Penguins are leaning towards.

With intrigue of playing Bonino and Perron together, Sergei Plotnikov may start out as the second line left winger by default.

“We want to see the three of them play together,” Johnston said of the Dupuis-Bonino-Perron line. “Like that line overall on what they provided tonight.”

While Kunitz will start the season on Crosby’s left wing, Kunitz is playing tonight and not tomorrow night vs Detroit.

Daniel Sprong with Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel vs Detroit would be fun to watch.


Johnston in last night’s loss mentioned that players who are battling for a roster spot often play too conservative and are scared to make a mistake.

“Through depth of our lineup, we didn’t have enough guys trying to make a difference,” Johnston said.

Daniel Sprong was one of the few players who didn’t fit that description.

“One thing I talked about playing safe, he didn’t play safe,” Johnston said of Sprong. “When he had the puck, he tried to make a difference. He did make a couple mistakes, but then he broke over the blueline, cut to the middle once, broke over the blueline, took it wide. When he has the puck in offensive zone he hangs on to it.”

Johnston’s comments are interesting because borderline players often play scared because coaches make them feel that way in that if they make a mistake, they won’t see another shift.

Beau Bennett is a good example of that last season. Rick Tocchet got in his head Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

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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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