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Insider Only Shero: Logjam of defensemen will “sort it self out”

Shero on Penguins Opening Camp
The Pittsburgh Penguins opened training camp today and it’s exciting times with the regular season just six days away. “It’s Great for the players, great for the fans, great for the people that work around the rink and at the rink affected by lockout,” GM Ray Shero said on camp opening up. “Great day for hockey.”
The Penguins have had months to look back on what went wrong in the playoffs and for Shero and the Penguins, it’s time to move on and get back to business. “I just don’t think we played the way we’re capable of playing,” Shero said when asked about what disappointed him the most about the Flyers series. “Disappointing thing, pretty bitter at end of year, but from my standpoint and team’s standpoint, it’s over and have to move on.”
For Shero he has less than a week to finalize his roster with no preseason games and the pressing question will be how the blueline shakes out. The first training camp session gave some light on how it might play out.

“{Brian} Strait, {Robert} Bortuzzo, {Ben} Lovejoy need waivers,” Shero said, claiming the final roster decisions will probably start with them. “Will have to sort it self out and will be up to the coaching staff to who they want to start with.”
Sources said prior to camp that the coaching staff wants Simon Despres in the top-6 and that’s how things shook out on the depth chart today when Despres worked as the third pairing with Deryk Engelland. The Penguins other pairings were Matt Niskanen – Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin and Robert Bortuzzo – Ben Lovejoy as the extra pairing.
The odd-man out was Brian Strait who skated on the 5th line with Beau Bennett and Jayson Megna. Strait has an uphill battle to making the team and if Despres makes the team, it’s a foregone conclusion he will be the odd-man out.
Shero said today the team will consider carrying eight defensemen to start the year.
“Possibility we could start the year with eight defensemen but pretty certain we’re not starting with nine,” Shero said.
Indications are if the Penguins feel Beau Bennett is not ready, the team is likely to start the year with 13 forwards and 8 defensemen.
As for the trade front:
“We’ve been involved in a little bit just to make sure of what’s going on around the league,” Shero said on early trade activity. “Should be interesting with waivers, things like that.”
Shero on Evgeni Malkin still traveling back to Pittsburgh (did not practice today): ” Last game was last Sunday in Slovakia, quite a bit of travel last week, looking forward to get him back.”
Shero on opening season vs division foes: “All division games, going to be exciting.”
Shero on Sidney Crosby having full off-season to train: “He’s been in top shape for a while,” Shero said. “He just never had a summer of training {Last season}. Missed that summer training which he got back this summer.”
Shero on Beau Bennett: “Bottom line, see him play in American Hockey League, he’s a real good player, real smart player, skilled player, anticipates plays, brings certain skill level.”
Shero on Schedule: “Schedule is what you make.”
Shero on Vokoun: “Going to be competition between him and Mark”
*Day 1 Practice Report to be posted Next*

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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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