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Monday's Catch Up & Lunch Links 9/22

Monday, September 22, 2014
From rookie camp (pictured above) to the start of the preseason, hockey is right around the corner. Photo credit: Michelle Tapp.
After four days of training camp, the new Pittsburgh Penguins management and coaching staff will get a chance to implement their game plan tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET as the Penguins open their preseason schedule at home against the Detroit Red Wings.

A look at the roster the Penguins released yesterday tells us the Pens are dressing roughly a half and half split of NHL and AHL players. Matt Murray will back up Marc-Andre Fleury. Reid McNeill and Taylor Chorney appear to be the third pairing. Forwards Josh Archibald. Anton Zlobin, J-S Dea, Scott Wilson and Bobby Farnham are all in the lineup too.

With NHL training camp underway, AHL camps are about to open as well. I would expect the Penguins to make some cuts this week before the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins start up their training camp. Players/coaches report to AHL camp on Friday and their first on-ice practice is this Saturday. I would expect the first round of cuts to come by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest to give those guys a chance to get across the state for the start of AHL camp this weekend.

While dates and times haven't been announced yet, if you've been following along on Facebook and Twitter you already know that Pittsburgh native Tyler Murovich and Shavertown, Pa. native Patrick McGrath will be at the WBS Penguins camp on tryouts.

Hockey is on the horizon. Things will be picking up in the coming weeks, meaning more stories to read. Stay tuned for that.

Taking The Next Step 9/18

Thursday, September 18, 2014
After a relatively strong presence at this year's rookie tournament, Brian Dumoulin looks to have a strong training camp. Photo credit: @ItsJacki.
It's a glorious time of year, isn't it? As summer winds down and the fall season approaches, hockey players from around the world are returning to 30 cities across North America to report for training camp.

For some, it's their first chance to show their respective coaching staff/management what they're capable of. For younger guys like Brian Dumoulin or Adam Payerl, it's time to prove that they can excel against stiffer competition and they're ready to take that next step.

The Pittsburgh Penguins start a new era of hockey as training camp gets underway. It'll certainly be interesting to see how the new management, coaching staff (in the NHL) and players on the ice play out this season.

The camp roster is down from 57 to 55 as both of the tryout players invited to the Pens' rookie tournament - Wheeling's Patrick McGrath and San Jose Sharks former draft pick Christophe Lalancette - were released from their respective tryouts.

You will probably see McGrath attend the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins training camp, as he is under contract with Wheeling - the Pens' ECHL affiliate. You will see, according to Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, forward Tyler Murovich invited to the AHL Pens' training camp on a tryout in about a week and a half.

There are spots in the lineup open and position battles at both the NHL and AHL levels for those spots that are up for grabs. After the jump, a look at the training camp roster and an NHL/AHL look at who is locked in and who is on the bubble to make the rosters.

Bibeau Says No - Toronto Shuts Out Penguins in Rookie Tournament Finale

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Toronto Maple Leafs conclude tournament with a 2-0 win over Pittsburgh. Photo credit: @MapleLeafs.
Antoine Bibeau - Toronto's 6th round pick in 2013 - stole the show, concluding the 2014 Rookie Tournament this afternoon in London, Ontario, with a 25-save shutout of the Pittsburgh Penguins. His most notable save of the afternoon came in the first period when he robbed Bryan Rust.

You can view this "highway robbery" of Rust courtesy the Toronto Maple Leafs here.

Penguins Finish Rookie Tournament With Toronto

Harrison Ruopp (#52), Brian Dumoulin (#8), Scott Wilson (#43) and Reid McNeill (#33) warm up before Sunday's game against Chicago. Photo credit: Michelle Tapp (@Adikted).
The Pittsburgh Penguins look to go for the clean sweep this afternoon when they conclude the 2014 Rookie Tournament in London, Ontario with a 2 p.m. ET face-off against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Pens are 2-0 through two games at this tournament, having defeated Ottawa 4-3 on Saturday and Chicago 5-4 in a shootout on Sunday. The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, split their first two games opening with a 4-2 win over Chicago before falling to Ottawa 6-2 in the second game.

Leading the Pens through two games is none other than Jean-Sebastien Dea (2G-3A). Dea tallied the game-winning goal on the power play with 18.3 seconds left in Saturday's game, also tallying two assists in the opening match of the weekend. He followed that up with another goal and assist, including a first round shootout goal as well against Chicago on Sunday. The kid has been everywhere on the ice, mixing it up with physical play and getting into high-scoring areas and finishing plays off.

It will be interesting to see who gets the start in net for the Penguins this afternoon and if the starter sees the full 60-minutes or if the team elects to split the game in half between the goalies. Matt Murray, who is turning pro in the fall, stopped 22 of 25 on Saturday. Tristan Jarry, the former Memorial Cup Champion winning goalie, is likely headed back to Edmonton (WHL) though he stopped 36 of 40 shots in the Pens' shootout win Sunday. Do you go with the guy who is further along in his development or split the time evenly amongst the two netminders. Time will tell.

It's interesting what a difference a year makes. The Penguins left London without a win last year and this year have a chance to go a perfect 3-0. Not that wins and losses at this time of year carry any real weight, but several guys (J-S Dea, Anton Zlobin and Josh Archibald to name a few) have used this tournament to make a strong first impression with the new coaching staff and management in Pittsburgh.

Monday's Catch Up & Lunch Links 9/15

Monday, September 15, 2014
Photo credit: Michelle T. (@adikted).
It was a good weekend for the Pittsburgh Penguins prospects participating in the rookie tournament in London, Ontario as the Penguins went 2-0 in their first two games against the Ottawa Senators and Chicago Blackhawks. They'll look to go for the clean sweep in their final match of the tournament against the Toronto Maple Leafs this Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET.

Several players stood out during the weekend, and in contrast to past years it was some of the forwards grabbing the spotlight.

You have to start with Jean-Sebastien Dea, who last year at this time had just worked his way from a development camp invite to an NHL contract Pittsburgh Penguins organization. Dea scored the game-winning goal and two assists in the Pens' come-from-behind win over the Ottawa to open the rookie tournament Saturday. He followed that up with another goal, an assist and a shootout goal in the Pens' shootout win over Chicago on Sunday. His five points (two goals, three assists) lead the Pens in scoring through two of three games at this year's rookie tournament.

Another promising forward in the Penguins pipeline who stood out was Anton Zlobin. Zlobin became more consistent at the end of his rookie season in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and was one of the Penguins best forwards in the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs. He's continued to improve over the off-season and is arguably the most dangerous weapon on the Pens' rookie camp roster. Zlobin opened the scoring in Saturday's game and gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead in Sunday's game. Two goals in two games and creating offense on a regular basis among his peers, Zlobin looks to play a top six role in the AHL in the fall.

Another forward who scored a goal in each game was Josh Archibald, who twice took a feed from linemate Oskar Sundqvist and finished off the play with a nice goal. Archibald was the Hobey Baker runner up to Johnny Gaudreau last year after a 29-goal season with the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Matia Marcantuoni and Tom Kuhnhackl were also noticeable in both games. Marcantuoni's blazing speed and penalty killing ability over the weekend has drawn comparisons to that of Brian Gibbons. Kuhnhackl is no stranger to these rookie camps and tallied a third period goal to start Saturday's comeback against Ottawa and netted two assists and the game-winning shootout goal in Sunday's 5-4 win over Chicago.

It was a busy week here at Highland Park Hockey. If you missed our coverage of the rookie tournament and the previews leading up to it, there's plenty of articles below for you to read and catch up on what transpired last week.