As the post title indicates, opening week is upon us. It kicked off with Tuesday’s practice at the Toyota SportsPlex.
A few things to note:
Garrett Wilson was absent from practice because of a family issue. Colin Smith did practice on Tuesday, but he is day-to-day. Meannwhile, Donatelli said he expected to learn more about the status of defenseman Jarred Tinordi later in the day; but until then, he is considered day-to-day as well.
At the start of practice, Tinordi was standing at the boards with a brace on his left leg. Don’t know if that is related to his injury or not. Perhaps we’ll know more today.
The practice itself was pretty crisp – lots of work for the special teams units.
The locker room is pretty crowded with more cuts yet to be made; a few guys literally have metal chairs lined up next to the television screen for lockers.
I also asked Tom Sestito and Donatelli about the rash of penalties during the preseason games and what to expect once the regular season begins. Notice how their responses seem to paint differing pictures.
Sestito: “I think the refs right now, even the linesmen in the face-off circle, are pretty hard right now. I feel like it’s the same way after the last lockout. They’re stern in the preseason, and then they lay back a little bit.”
Donatelli: “The rule’s the rule, and … you can’t slash someone with the stick. (The officials) have been pretty consistent on that. We’ve been working on it in practice, and that’s a habit that not just us, but I think everyone in the league, both leagues, are going to have to adjust to. Sometimes, it’s just a reaction. Guys have been doing that their whole life, so you hope that they’re going to lighten up a little bit but we’re going to have to be able to figure it out and be cognizant of it, and I think our guys are.”
I’m interested to see what happens once the season starts; some of those weekend games felt like they dragged on even though they actually weren’t solely because of the penalties.
Then the big news later in the day was Derrick Pouliot‘s trade to the Vancouver Canucks. It definitely seemed like it was time for a change of scenery in Pouliot’s case, and I do wish him well. As the story in the link notes, he’ll be reuniting with Travis Green.
In the meanwhile, we’ll likely get to see Andrey Pedan here in WBS as a result. What does he have? Size, for one, at 6-foot-5, which is keeping in line with the rest of the Penguins’ blue liners this season. He put up decent numbers in Utica, and he’s still relatively young at age 24. So there’s definitely some potential there.
That’s all for now. Be sure to pick up a print copy of the paper Wednesday for a breakdown of the Atlantic Division and stories on the Penguins’ pair of dynamic duos. (Hint: two are forwards, and two are goalkeepers).