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Thread: Tangradi, 3 1st Round Picks Highlight Pens' Development Camp

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    Tangradi, 3 1st Round Picks Highlight Pens' Development Camp

    Tangradi, Three First-Round Selections Highlight Penguins' 2011 Development Camp Roster
    July 16th scrimmage at CONSOL Energy Center will be open to the public
    Tuesday, 07.05.2011 / 1:44 PM

    The Pittsburgh Penguins will host a prospect development camp July 11-16 at CONSOL Energy Center, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.

    Highlighting the camp roster is forward Eric Tangradi, who played 15 regular-season games with Pittsburgh in 2010-11, and the team’s previous three first-round draft picks: defenseman Simon Despres (2009, 30th overall); forward Beau Bennett (2010, 20th); and defenseman Joseph Morrow (2011, 23rd).

    This is the first year the Penguins have held prospect development camp at CONSOL Energy Center. Saturday afternoon’s concluding scrimmage on July 16 will begin at 3 p.m. and will be open to the public.

    The group of rookies and prospects will be in Pittsburgh taking part in on-ice practice and scrimmage sessions, undergoing medical and fitness testing and attending meetings and seminars.

    Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach John Hynes, WBS assistant coach Alain Nasreddine, Penguins assistant to the general manager Tom Fitzgerald, Penguins goaltending coach Gilles Meloche, Penguins player development coach Bill Guerin, Penguins strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar and WBS strength and conditioning coach Joe Lorincz will serve as camp instructors.

    Tangradi, 22, saw the first extended NHL action of his career this season, making the Penguins’ opening-night roster and contributing three points (1G-2A) in 15 regular-season games. He also made his NHL postseason debut when he dressed for Game 4 vs. Tampa Bay. Tangradi also spent time this season with WBS, scoring 18 goals and 33 points in 42 games.

    Despres, 19, finished a strong season with Saint John of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) by helping to lead the Sea Dogs to a Memorial Cup championship. Individually, Despres earned the Emile Bouchard Trophy as the QMJHL’s best defenseman after collecting 41 points (13G-28A) and posting a plus-29 rating in 47 games. Despres was a member of Team Canada’s silver-medalist squad at the 2011 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, N.Y.

    Bennett, 19, recently completed his first collegiate season at the University of Denver. In 37 games with the Pioneers, Bennett tallied nine goals, 16 assists and 25 points. A native of Gardena, Calif., Bennett was the highest-drafted California-born player in NHL history when the Penguins chose him 20th overall last June.

    Morrow, 18, was the highest-scoring blueliner for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this past season, notching 49 points (9G-40A) and six power-play goals in 60 games. During the postseason, he placed second among all WHL blueliners with 20 points (6G-14A) in 21 games while helping the Winterhawks reach the WHL final.

    Other prospects in the Penguins’ system scheduled to attend camp are forwards Josh Archibald, Brian Gibbons, Tom Kuhnhackl, Nick Petersen, Bryan Rust, Zack Sill, Paul Thompson, Dominik Uher, Keven Veilleux and Scott Wilson; defensemen Nicholas D’Agostino, Alex Grant, Scott Harrington, Reid McNeill, Joe Rogalski, Philip Samuelsson and Alex Velischek; and goaltender Patrick Killeen.

  2. #2

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    Re: Tangradi, 3 1st Round Picks Highlight Pens' Development

    Penguins 2011 Development Camp Begins Tuesday at CONSOL Energy Center
    Free Scrimmage on July 16 Open to the Public
    Sunday, 07.10.2011 / 10:00 AM

    The Pittsburgh Penguins 2011 prospect development camp will begin with on-ice practices at CONSOL Energy Center this Tuesday, July 12 and will run through Saturday, July 16.

    This year’s camp, which is the first to be held at CONSOL Energy Center, will feature a free scrimmage open to the public on Saturday, July 16 beginning at 3 p.m.

    Fans wishing to attend the scrimmage can enjoy free parking available in all CONSOL Energy Center lots. All fans should enter the arena through the Trib Total Media Gate, which will open at 2:30 p.m. Several concession stands, as well as PensGear – the Penguins’ official team store – will be open.

    In addition to the on-ice portion of camp, the group of rookies and prospects participating in development camp will take part in medical and fitness testing, workouts, meetings and seminars at CONSOL Energy Center.

    Serving as instructors this year are Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach John Hynes, WBS assistant coach Alain Nasreddine, Penguins assistant to the general manager Tom Fitzgerald, Penguins goaltending coach Gilles Meloche, Penguins player development coach Bill Guerin, Penguins strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar and WBS strength and conditioning coach Joe Lorincz.

    The first on-ice practice will be held Tuesday, July 12 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at CONSOL Energy Center. All players and coaches will be available to the media inside the Penguins locker room beginning at 1 p.m.


    Player # Pos. Shoots HT WT DOB (Age) 2010-11 Club Status How Acquired


    Andrew Blazek 10 D L 6-2 185 08/07/88 (22) Robert Morris (AHA) UFA
    Simon Despres 2 D L 6-4 205 07/27/91 (19) Saint John (QMJHL) NHL Rd. 1 (30th overall) 2009 Draft
    Nicholas D'Agostino 6 D L 6-1 177 06/24/90 (21) Cornell (ECAC) UDC Rd. 7 (210th overall) 2008 Draft
    Alex Grant 9 D R 6-3 185 01/20/89 (22) Wheeling (ECHL) NHL Rd. 4 (118th overall) 2007 Draft WBS (AHL)
    Scott Harrington 8 D L 6-0 200 03/10/93 (1 London (OHL) UDC Rd. 2 (54th overall) 2011 Draft
    Reid McNeill 3 D L 6-3 191 04/29/92 (19) London (OHL) UDC Rd. 6 (170th overall) 2010 Draft
    Joe Morrow 7 D L 6-0 197 12/09/92 (1 Portland (WHL) UDC Rd. 1 (23rd overall) 2011 Draft
    Joe Rogalski 4 D R 6-1 195 11/29/91 (19) Sarnia (OHL) UDC Rd. 6 (152nd overall) 2010 Draft
    Philip Samuelsson 5 D L 6-2 198 07/26/91 (19) Boston College (H-E) NHL Rd. 2 (61st overall) 2009 Draft

    Josh Archibald 15 RW R 5-9 161 10/06/92 (1 Brainerd (HS) UDC Rd. 6 (174th overall) 2011 Draft
    Jessey Astles 27 RW L 6-1 192 06/04/93 (1 Kelowna (WHL) UFA
    Beau Bennett 19 RW R 6-1 173 11/27/91 (19) Denver (WCHA) UDC Rd. 1 (20th overall) 2010 Draft
    Stefan Fournier 22 RW R 6-2 200 04/30/92 (19) Lewiston (QMJHL) UFA
    Brian Gibbons 17 C L 5-8 160 02/26/88 (23) Boston College (H-E) NHL Signed as free agent 4/20/11
    Jared Gomes 23 C L 6-1 190 10/20/88 (22) UPEI (AUS) UFA
    Tom Kuhnhackl 14 RW L 6-2 172 01/21/92 (19) Windsor (OHL) UDC Rd. 4 (110th overall) 2010 Draft
    Nick Petersen 20 RW R 6-2 186 05/27/89 (22) Wheeling (ECHL) NHL Rd. 4 (121st overall) 2009 Draft WBS (AHL)
    Bryan Rust 12 RW R 6-0 191 05/11/92 (19) Notre Dame (CCHA) UDC Rd. 3 (80th overall) 2010 Draft
    Zach Sill 11 C L 6-0 200 05/04/88 (23) WBS (AHL) NHL
    Eric Tangradi 26 LW L 6-0 221 02/10/89 (22) Pittsburgh (NHL) NHL Trade with Anaheim 2/26/09 WBS (AHL)
    Paul Thompson 16 RW R 6-1 205 11/30/88 (22) WBS (AHL) NHL Signed as free agent 3/20/11 New Hampshire (H-E)
    Dominik Uher 28 C L 6-0 195 12/31/92 (1 Spokane (WHL) UDC Rd. 5 (144th overall) 2011 Draft
    Keven Veilleux 24 RW R 6-5 218 06/27/89 (22) WBS (AHL) NHL Rd. 2 (51st overall) 2007 Draft
    Scott Wilson 25 C L 5-10 166 04/24/92 (19) Georgetown (OJHL) UDC Rd. 7 (209th overall) 2011 Draft
    Scott Zurevinski 18 F L 6-2 190 06/04/88 (23) Quinnipiac (ECAC) UFA

    Patrick Kileen 1 G L 6-1 204 04/15/90 (21) WBS (AHL) NHL Rd. 6 (180th overall) 2008 Draft Wheeling (ECHL)
    Maxime Lagace 31 G L 6-2 177 01/12/93 (1 PEI (QMJHL) UFA
    Rob Madore 29 G L 5-10 179 05/28/88 (23) Vermont (H-E) UFA

    UDC - Unsigned Draft Choice
    UFA - Unrestricted Free Agent
    NHL - NHL Contract
    AHL - AHL Contract
    PTO - Professional Tryout

  3. #3

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    Re: Tangradi, 3 1st Round Picks Highlight Pens' Development

    Two Pittsburgh Players to Attend Penguins' Development Camp This Week at CONSOL Energy Center
    Monday, 07.11.2011 / 11:59 AM

    Two Pittsburgh area players will be on the ice at the Pittsburgh Penguins’ annual Development Camp starting Tuesday at CONSOL Energy Center.

    Rob Madore, a goaltender from Peters Township who plays at the University of Vermont, and Andrew Blazek, a defenseman from Upper St. Clair who plays at Robert Morris University, are among 28 young players scheduled to attend the camp.

    Madore and Blazek will join such NHL prospects as Eric Tangradi and recent No. 1 draft picks Simon Despres, Beau Bennett and Joe Morrow at the development camp, which runs from Tuesday through Saturday.

    NHL teams are allowed to invite undrafted college players to these camps, providing the college players pay their own expenses.

    Both Madore and Blazek played high school hockey in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League (PIHL) and skated for the Pittsburgh Hornets amateur program

    Madore, who is entering his senior season at Vermont, won two Penguins Cup high school championships at Mellon Arena while playing for Peters Township. He has a career goals-against average of 2.68 at Vermont.

    Blazek, a junior at Robert Morris, started his career as a winger before switching to defense. He played two years of high school hockey at Upper St. Clair and two years of U.S. junior hockey before enrolling at RMU.

  4. #4

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    Re: Tangradi, 3 1st Round Picks Highlight Pens' Development

    Summer School
    Tuesday, 07.12.2011 / 7:00 AM
    Features By Michelle Crechiolo

    Making the jump from amateur to professional hockey is about so much more than on-ice ability.

    That means the 28 young men in attendance at the Penguins’ annual prospect development camp, which kicks off bright and early Tuesday morning at CONSOL Energy Center, better get their pencils and notebooks ready – because they’re about to learn what it means to be a Pittsburgh Penguin in every sense of the word.

    “The whole idea of setting this camp up is to develop the habits and the mindset of a pro hockey player and what is expected from a pro hockey player in our organization,” said Penguins assistant to the general manager Tom Fitzgerald, one of the camp’s instructors.

    “We also get to see our draft picks with the Pittsburgh Penguins uniform on. It gives them that sense of family. This allows us to look at these guys together. We also get to show them what the city of Pittsburgh is all about.”

    The prospects in attendance have quite an eventful week ahead of them at camp, which goes through Saturday and will be run by Fitzgerald, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach John Hynes, WBS assistant coach Alain Nasreddine, Penguins goaltending coach Gilles Meloche, Penguins player development coach Bill Guerin, Penguins strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar and WBS strength and conditioning coach Joe Lorincz.

    In addition to on-ice practices, off-ice workouts, a Saturday scrimmage and team-bonding experiences like a bowling tournament and group dinners, they’ll be receiving education in media training, NHL security, nutrition and sports psychology.

    They’ll even be taking a cooking class to give them options outside of dialing the number of the nearest pizza delivery place when they no longer live with Mom and Dad.

    “When 20- or 21-year-old kids enter the league they know how to play hockey,” Fitzgerald explained. “The hockey aspect takes care of itself. It’s the other stuff that we put a lot of value on. A big part of hockey is the mental side – that’s why we have professionals who come in, work with these guys and give them answers to things that might come up.”

    Prospect development camps are standard practice in the National Hockey League these days, but it wasn’t always that way.

    When guys like Fitzgerald, head coach Dan Bylsma and assistant coach Todd Reirden were preparing to make the jump to professional hockey, camps like these weren’t available to them. Instead, they had to figure it out on their own.

    And while they eventually learned what it took to make it at this level, there’s so many invaluable resources currently available to set these young men up for long-term success that it would be silly not to take advantage of them.

    In fact, Fitzgerald believes that the various training seminars and team-bonding experiences the players will participate in off the ice this week will be the most beneficial to them.

    “That is such a huge element that goes into being a professional,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s something that Todd, Dan and I were taught through experience. Maybe by saying something we shouldn’t have said to the media without someone saying you can’t say that. That was our experience, but we said let’s try to educate these kids prior. You learn by your experiences, but if you can give them a heads up on certain things maybe they won’t make those same kinds of mistakes.”

    It may seem like a whole lot of information crammed into a six-day period, and well, that’s because it is. But no one ever said it was easy.

    “We show these guys the way that we build our foundation,” Fitzgerald said. “With that foundation come expectations for everybody within the organization. You set your goals and your expectations high. Winners have higher expectations – winning Stanley Cups. We have done that and we want to continue to do that.”

  5. #5

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    Re: Tangradi, 3 1st Round Picks Highlight Pens' Development

    Happy to be Here
    Wednesday, 07.13.2011 / 6:22 PM
    Features By Michelle Crechiolo

    When asked what it felt like to be selected by the Penguins in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, big smiles crept onto both Dominik Uher’s and Josh Archibald’s faces.

    “It was pretty amazing,” said Uher.

    Added Archibald: “I was just shocked.”

    Uher, a 6-foot, 195-pound forward who spent last season with Spokane of the Western Hockey League (WHL), was sitting at his computer at home in the Czech Republic, feverishly checking the Internet as the draft unfolded.

    When his name finally appeared as the Penguins’ fifth-round choice (144th overall), Uher couldn’t believe it.

    “It’s a great organization and I’m so happy to be here,” he said.

    He came into his own last season with the Chiefs, finishing with 21 goals and 60 points through 65 games – a monumental increase from the four goals and 16 points he posted through 53 games in 2009-10.

    “It was very hard for me when I first got there,” he admitted, citing the transition from European-style hockey to North American as the reason for his initial struggles. It also didn’t help Uher knew no English, an area he’s also improved drastically in thanks to the help of his teachers and roommates in Spokane.

    But despite his drastic improvement, Uher’s coaches in Spokane weren’t sure about where he would be drafted.

    “I knew (being drafted) might happen,” Uher said. “So I was kind of nervous, but when I saw my name under the Penguins I was pretty happy.”

    Uher classifies himself as a hardworking player similar to a power forward, who thrives on the physical aspect of the game – something he loves about the North American style of play.

    “Now I’m used to playing American hockey and I like it more than the European style,” he said, adding with a grin, “so right now I enjoy hitting.”

    Archibald played last season with Brainerd High School in Brainerd, MN, posting 73 points (27G-46A) in 25 games. The 18-year-old was named a finalist for the state’s prestigious Mr. Hockey award while serving as team captain.

    Archibald, the son of former NHL player Jim Archibald, was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan. The family moved to Minnesota prior to Archibald starting the ninth grade.

    Once in the state, Archibald began attending hockey camps run by Penguins scout Chuck Grillo.

    And that’s who gave Archibald a call when the Penguins selected him in the sixth round (174th overall).

    “While the draft was going on I got a call from one of the Pittsburgh staff, Chuck Grillo,” he said. “I know him pretty well, he lives up in Minnesota and I go to his camp a lot. He called me and asked me if I’d like to be a Penguin. I was just shocked. I didn't know what to say. He said that they had just drafted me. It is just an unreal experience to be able to come down here and experience all of this.”

    Archibald said he had talked to Pittsburgh throughout the season, so it wasn’t a complete surprise that the organization drafted him.

    But standing in the Penguins locker room dressed in official team workout gear, he noted how surreal the experience has been so far for him.

    “It honestly hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said. “But ever since I got here it’s kind of setting in and I’m realizing what everything is about.”

    The 5-foot-10, 161-pound forward sees himself as an “aggressive player.”

    “I’m a good skater, but I also see the ice really well so I can pass the puck and just do whatever I need to,” he added.

    Archibald, who will be attending the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the fall, has no immediate timeline for his future plans.

    “I’m just taking it one year at a time,” he said. “I’m going in there looking to get the experience, get bigger, hopefully become NHL ready soon.

  6. #6

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    Re: Tangradi, 3 1st Round Picks Highlight Pens' Development

    Dreams From My Father
    Philip Samuelsson Following the Career of his Father
    Wednesday, 07.13.2011 / 5:04 PM
    Features By Sam Kasan

    Inside the Penguins locker room hangs a black jersey. On the front is the crest of the Penguins logo. On the back reads the name SAMUELSSON with a No. 5 below it.

    Though the jersey is hanging inside the locker room at CONSOL Energy Center, a similar image took place 20 years ago across the street at Civic Arena.

    It’s like déjà vu all over again.

    Defenseman Philip Samuelsson, the son of former Penguin and fan favorite blueliner Ulf, is in Pittsburgh to take part in the team’s 2011 development camp.

    And his visage isn’t the only part of him that bares a resemblance to his father, who is a member of the Penguins All-Time Team. Philip's play on the ice has reminded several NHL scouts of his dad.

    “We both are shutdown-style defensemen,” said the younger Samuelsson, Pittsburgh’s 61st-overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. “I like to play aggressive and hit within in the rules. He was much more aggressive in hitting because the rules allowed for it. Now the game has changed so much that you have to be smarter with how you are. We’re basically the same, I think.”

    That isn’t surprising considering that they both share the same genes and bloodline. Not to mention that Ulf, who is currently the head coach of Modo of the Swedish Elite League, has taught and trained his son from his youth.

    “It’s amazing how much work he’s put into my development,” Philip said. “He looks at a lot of my game tapes and we go over that after the game on what he thinks I can tweak here and there shooting-wise, gap-wise, hitting-wise. It’s something that’s helped me out a lot.”

    Another aspect helping Samuelsson develop is the Penguins organization. Samuelsson is attending his first-ever development camp in which team prospects learn the team’s system, the team’s terminology and other fitness and conditioning tips to help them get to the NHL level.

    “I’m very exciting to be here in Pittsburgh,” Philip said. “I’m ready to soak in all the information I can and learn everything from the coaching staff and physical training staff.

    “It will be a benefit for me in the fall to have a base knowledge of how everything works here, and get more comfortable with the city that I hopefully will one day be playing in.”

    Samuelsson spent the last two seasons playing at Boston College. He won the NCAA national title as a freshman, but has opted to start his professional career now and leave college, singing with the Penguins.

    “It was a tough decision for me,” he noted. “I have nothing but great things to say about Boston College. It’s a historic program and a great school. For me, I wanted to be a hockey player. I wanted to focus all my attention on hockey and not school. That was my main decision there.”

    And in the future the No. 5 Samuelsson jersey could be hanging regularly in the CONSOL Energy Center locker room. Just as Philip remembered seeing it as a boy.

    “I remember being a little pup, running around the rinks all the time. I remember being at the old Igloo, being in the locker room,” he said. “I thought I was part of the team then. That’s my earliest memory, being a little rink rat and running around.”

    And Samuelsson is well aware of the mutual love between his father and the city where he won two Stanley Cup championships.

    “I know from talking to him that he loved the city and the fan base that they had here,” Philip said. “He’s either a hero or a villain depending on where he is. He had that style that was in your face, but it worked for him.”

    Ulf, who played 277 games for the Penguins from 1991-95, was also the hero in Game 6 of the 1991 Stanley Cup Final against Minnesota, scoring the game-deciding, Cup-clinching goal in an 8-0 win for Pittsburgh. While many Penguins fans may forget about Ulf’s winning tally, it is not forgotten in the Samuelsson household.

    “He won’t let you forget that,” Philip joked. “He loves saying that he won the Stanley Cup.”

    Maybe one done his son will make the same claim.

  7. #7

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    Re: Tangradi, 3 1st Round Picks Highlight Pens' Development

    Talking Shop with John Hynes
    Wednesday, 07.13.2011 / 4:59 PM
    Features By Michelle Crechiolo

    Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach John Hynes is heading up the Penguins 2011 prospect development camp at CONSOL Energy Center, which runs from July 11-16. Here are a few points of interest that Hynes has shared with the media over Days 1 and 2 on Tuesday and Wednesday.


    Before the first practice of the week began on Tuesday, Hynes outlined the mindset of the Penguins staff members running the camp.

    “One of the things we like to do is really educate the younger players on what it takes to be a Pittsburgh Penguin and really what our culture is as an organization,” he said. “It’s really a holistic approach to the camp. There’s not as many competitive situations as far as daily scrimmages – it’s more about educating them on how we want to practice, the types of drills that we run and things that we want to implement systematically. So when the players come back for rookie camp or training camp, they’re on the same page and they know what to expect.

    “Their workouts throughout the week will really mirror what they would do if they were in Pittsburgh or in WBS. Off the ice, the team building and team camaraderie exercises are all things we want to be able to challenge them with. With competitions and having them work together and getting them outside of their comfort zone. It’s a great situation for the guys to really get a feel for how we do things as an organization, and really, what to expect in the coming months, whether they’re going to go back to their college programs or to junior programs. They’ll know what we expect and the things we want to see from them in the future.”


    Last summer marked Hynes’ first Penguins prospect development camp, as he had just finished his first season with the organization as WBS assistant coach.

    Hynes is now WBS head coach, meaning he’s the man in charge this week at CONSOL Energy Center, and he appreciates how his role in last year’s camp helped him prepare for this one.

    “The whole transition is enjoyable,” he said. “It was nice that I was able to come into the organization and really go through everything for one year just to see the philosophy of how things get done and get to know people a little bit better.

    “This year’s been great. We’ve taken a lot of the ideas that we’ve had from last year and just kind of continued to build on them. There’s really a model that’s been put in place, so we kind of just follow that up and we kind of tweak things here or there.”

    BILLY G.

    Hynes couldn’t say enough about the impact that Bill Guerin, the Penguins’ new player development coach, is already having on the organization in his new role.

    “He’s got an excellent personality with the players,” Hynes said of Guerin. “He’s an outgoing, funny guy. He’s really got a good relationship with the players. It’s not just his reputation.”

    Hynes noted that Guerin, who retired on Dec. 6, 2010 as a Pittsburgh Penguin with 18 NHL seasons under his belt, had already began working with him and his staff in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at the end of the regular season and through the playoffs,

    “He was a great resource to the coaching staff, because the great thing is that he just got done playing,” Hynes said. “He really understands what the players are going through.

    “The thing I’ve been the most impressed with is his willingness to work. He’s so approachable to the players and to the staff that he’s going to be a great asset for everybody because of his knowledge and personality.”


    After quelling the initial nervousness of the first day of camp and gaining some familiarity with each other, Wednesday’s practice flowed much more smoothly than Tuesday’s.

    “It was the second day, so they felt a little bit better,” Hynes said. “They know each other a little bit more. We had a bowling tournament last night where they loosened up a little bit there, and we had a good time with that.”

    Wednesday’s practice concluded with a lively, intense 3-on-3 scrimmage played on one end of the ice. While this week is all about development, Hynes explained that the Penguins have incorporated an element of competition into most of the activities, as one of the organization’s most prized values is compete level.

    “One of the things we have done at the camp is we have a running competition,” he said. “So when the players get here, we split them into two teams and we have an individual champion at the end of the week. They had a nutrition lecture Tuesday, so at the end of the lecture they get questions. And if the guys get questions right, they get a point. We have it on the standings board in the locker room.

    “Every day on the ice – Tuesday was the shootout and today was a 3-on-3 scrimmage – the winning team gets points. That's why today’s scrimmage really became competitive. … That is part of the camp. We talk to them about how we want to have guys that can compete and enjoy that process. We do develop throughout the week with a lot of activities, but everything almost has a competitive element to it.”


    The purpose of this prospect development camp is to teach the attendees what it takes to be a Pittsburgh Penguin and what the organization’s culture is.

    But for those prospects that aren’t making the jump to the professional ranks just yet, how do they balance what the Penguins are trying to teach them with the demands of their junior or college clubs?

    Well, Hynes and the rest of the staff are certainly teaching them the details that make the Penguins’ systems and philosophies unique. But they believe the messages the Penguins prospects take back with them to their respective teams can translate into any system.

    “When they go back to their teams, it’s more taking back the identity of how we want to play,” Hynes said. “We want guys who have great work ethics. We want guys that are going to play physical, are going to be aggressive and are going to play fast. Those are things they can take in any system that they play.

    “One of the things we do is give them a foundation of what our systematic structure is, and over the course of 1-3 years – by the time they either turn pro or are going to be in Wilkes-Barre or Pittsburgh – they have a really good idea of how we want to play all of our systems. But when they leave and go back to separate teams, it’s more about the attributes of how we want to have our players play, which is relentless, fast and physical, playing both sides of the puck equally hard. Those are things we would expect them to do whether they’re in our organization playing with us or if they’re in juniors or college.”

  8. #8

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    Foundation of Strength
    Wednesday, 07.13.2011 / 9:30 AM

    Features By Michelle Crechiolo

    Walk into the Penguins locker room after a game, and you’re bound to see the players trading their equipment gear for workout gear and beelining to the exercise bikes, treadmills and weights.

    It doesn’t matter that the players just grinded out three intense periods of hard-hitting, fast-skating hockey – finding success at the NHL level means putting in an extraordinary amount of work off the ice.

    And this week, Pittsburgh strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar will try to instill such habits into the Penguins prospects at the team’s annual development camp.

    “I think the biggest thing is how to become a professional hockey player and how to do the proper things correctly,” Kadar said. “That all stems from how we lift, how we present ourselves and how you come in and test. All of those things are going to play a part, as will the on-ice activities where they’re learning the systems and learning the Penguin way.

    “It’s all kind of a combination on becoming a professional athlete and a professional hockey player.”

    The prospects in attendance at camp are no slouches. They’ve all put in incredible efforts to be successful at elite levels of hockey, whether that be juniors, college or the American Hockey League.

    But Kadar says the biggest difference from amateur hockey to professional hockey is the requisite work ethic, and that’s what he and the rest of the staff will communicate this week.

    “We always put together a sheet after testing for our young guys that has the NHL standard for every test and where they fall in,” he said. “It’s all segmented and color-coded in terms of whether the prospect is above-average, average or below the NHL standards. That gives them a good idea on where they need to get to. It’s a little notch higher than where the kids are typically at right now.”

    That testing took place bright and early Tuesday morning, as the players had to be ready to go by 7:30 a.m. The players’ performances give Kadar and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton strength and conditioning coach Joe Lorincz a baseline they can work with for the foreseeable future.

    Their expectations for players who have been through camp before are obviously very high.

    “They already know how we train,” Kadar said. “They already know how we eat. They already know how to act and how to be a Pittsburgh Penguin. So there are high expectations, especially on the second, third and fourth-year kids.”

    Now that the testing is finished, the 28 prospects will be split into two workout groups each day for the remainder of camp.

    Those smaller groups will then be split in half – one will do lifts with conditioning, while the second will partake in skill development sessions of stickhandling and shooting in the Penguins’ shooting room.

    When the camp ends, Kadar will give each prospect a fitness program that covers all realms of fitness. He believes that if they follow it, they’ll be in great shape by the time they arrive in Pittsburgh.

    But Kadar knows he can’t constantly monitor the prospects, so he encourages them to use any available resources at their disposal to make them the best they can be.

    “These players are from all over the world,” he said. “You can’t keep track of whether they’re using your program or not. To me, it doesn't really matter as long as I’m in communication with their strength coach or they’re doing things properly. I encourage players to go and get their own strength and conditioning coach, just so they have someone to work with so they are in good shape by the time they get here instead of trying to do it on their own.”

    Kadar knows his role in this camp is part of the whole arsenal given to these players in hopes of helping them find success in Pittsburgh.

    “We’re trying to get them better in every aspect of hockey,” he said. “All the realms of fitness and nutrition and on-ice systems and how to become an athlete, be an athlete and how to become a Penguin.”

  9. #9

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    Re: Tangradi, 3 1st Round Picks Highlight Pens' Development

    The Rookie
    Tuesday, 07.12.2011 / 8:53 PM
    Features By Michelle Crechiolo

    The members of the Pittsburgh media were given photo rosters for this week’s Penguins prospect development camp so they could familiarize themselves with the players they hadn’t met yet.

    Although he probably wouldn’t admit it, such a roster might have been a useful tool for Joseph Morrow – the organization’s first-round pick (23rd overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft – who is attending his first-ever Penguins camp.

    “I’m still trying to learn everybody’s name,” Morrow admitted with a smile. “It’s hard. There’s a lot of guys here and with the organization and everything else, too. It’s pretty crazy. You don’t want to forget people’s names.”

    Morrow, who grew up in Sherwood Park, Alberta and who plays for Portland of the Western Hockey League (WHL), flew into Pittsburgh Monday night for the introduction meeting – a little over two weeks after becoming a member of the Penguins organization.

    “I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, ever since the draft,” he said. “I was real excited to finally come to Pittsburgh, and so far, so good. Hopefully it stays that way. “

    Morrow had never been to the Steel City before this week, and the 18-year-old defenseman is thoroughly impressed by his new surroundings.

    “It’s phenomenal,” he said of his first impressions of both Pittsburgh and CONSOL Energy Center. “The whole city and everything is overwhelming, especially with this brand-new rink. The dressing room is fantastic. It’s like a little palace.”

    Since it’s Morrow’s first-ever professional camp, he isn’t entirely sure what to expect.

    Morrow – who projects as a top-4 defenseman at the NHL level thanks to his wicked shot, good size (6-foot, 197 pounds) and powerful skating – just plans on absorbing all of the information he can that will help him find long-term success as a Pittsburgh Penguin.

    Not to mention that he plans on enjoying the other aspects that come with the camp, like team-bonding activities, group dinners and just getting to know his fellow prospects.

    “Just to develop,” he said of what he hopes to get out of this week. “It’s a development camp for a reason. I’m here to improve every aspect of my game and I’m here to have a good time. They treat you phenomenally here. You can’t get much better than this."

  10. #10

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    Re: Tangradi, 3 1st Round Picks Highlight Pens' Development

    The Veteran
    Tuesday, 07.12.2011 / 6:21 PM
    Features By Michelle Crechiolo

    Eric Tangradi may be just 22 years old. But this week, he’s an old soul.

    That’s because Tangradi is currently attending his third Penguins prospect development camp (and the fifth of his career, as he participated in two similar camps with Anaheim in 2007 and 200, which began today and runs through Saturday at CONSOL Energy Center.

    With a smorgasbord of familiarity with situations like these, the young winger is relishing the role of experienced veteran.

    “There’s a lot of new young faces, and with this being my third year here, I think it’s my job and my role to be a leader,” he said. “I’m just trying to make them comfortable and make them feel good about the whole situation.”

    It’s been a few years since Tangradi attended his first camp, but he vividly remembers the anxiety that came along with it – after all, being invited to a camp run by an NHL organization is a huge step in most players’ careers.

    There’s plenty of pressure that comes with being unwaveringly watched and evaluated by those within the Penguins organization while simultaneously adjusting to unfamiliar people and surroundings and processing a whole lot of information on how to be a professional hockey player.

    “I know how I felt when I first came in,” Tangradi said. “I didn't know anybody. You’re nervous and you’re worried. So you just try to calm the kids down and just let them know that this isn’t a tryout, it’s just kind of like an orientation.”

    Last season, Tangradi made Pittsburgh’s roster out of training camp and played the first eight games of the season with the Penguins before being sent back to WBS.

    He later earned another opportunity to join the parent club in February, and although he was sidelined for 16 games with a concussion shortly after, Tangradi remained in Pittsburgh for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs.

    He spent that entire time watching how his teammates in Pittsburgh conducted themselves both on and off the ice. Now Tangradi will get the chance to take all of that accumulated knowledge and experience and use it to mentor his fellow Penguins prospects, like camp roommate Josh Archibald, the organization's sixth-round pick (174th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

    Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach John Hynes, one of the instructors at this year’s camp, emphasized how beneficial it is for young players like Tangradi to undertake such prominent roles at camps like these.

    “We like that those guys are going to be leaders,” Hynes said of Tangradi and the other experienced camp attendees. “It’s a different role for them, because if they’re younger guys that come up to Pittsburgh, they have the experience of learning from (Sidney) Crosby, (Brooks) Orpik, (Evgeni) Malkin, (Kris) Letang and all of those types of players on what their work ethic is like, how they practice, how they approach the game and how we play.

    “This is a good opportunity for a guy like Eric Tangradi, who has been through the camps and understands how we want to do things and what type of systems we want to play. But more importantly, (he understands) the attributes we want to have in our players. It’s a good situation for him to take on that leadership role and be able to lead by example on and off the ice.”

    So although he's been through all of this numerous times, Tangradi certainly isn't snoozing through any of the seminars. He knows the Penguins have high expectations for him and he wants to fulfill them to the best of his ability.

    “I have to be front row with my eyes wide open and a big smile,” he joked. “So no sleeping for me. A lot of the information is repetitive, but when you pay attention and show that you’re interested – which I am – I think the other kids start to appreciate that it is a value of being a professional athlete.

    “Any time you put the sweater on, you’re representing the organization and yourself. I think today went very well. I had my testing, and I think that’s an indicator of how much I want to be here. As far as the skates go, as long as I progress throughout the week I think I’ll be happy and I think they’ll be as well.”

    But when it’s all said and done, what’s Tangradi’s main message to the other prospects?

    “That everyone in this organization is not going to be satisfied unless you play in the NHL,” he said. “I mean, every single guy from (assistant to the general manager) Tom Fitzgerald to (general manager) Ray Shero – they picked you (to be here) for a reason. You’re here for a reason, and that’s to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins. So it’s nice to know that there are people around you whose ultimate goal is to get you in the NHL.”


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