The great thing about blogging is you can get other people to do your work for you. And for free! Especially if you're too lazy and cheap to run downtown and pay for a full day to park near Mellon Arena.
That's where EN reader Elizabeth Krenzelok steps in. She did make the effort and filed this report and sent us a few photos.
6:00 a.m.: As has become my tradition, I wake up really early to get down to training camp to get my usual behind the bench seats, since it's my only chance to sit in the Igloo Club.
6:50: My friends and I depart from my house and head to Mellon Arena.
7:45: After getting stuck in traffic on Liberty Avenue, we get to Mellon Arena, park, and get in line outside of Gate One, and only about seven people have beaten us to the line.
8:15: WTAE and KDKA show up, and the reporter from WTAE starts interviewing fans. Since one of my friends has skipped a day of high school, we tell the reporter she can't be on camera. We find out later from my mom that she saw all of us in the background of the report.
8:49: The ushers open up the doors, and my friends and I walk in and get seats in the first row, behind the bench. Some of the rookies are already out on the ice, practicing.
9:00: Group A, which includes Sidney Crosby, Sergei Gonchar, Miroslav Satan, Pascal Dupuis, and Alex Goligoski, among others, come out onto the ice for their drills session.
9:10: Miroslav Satan looks right at me, and I nearly escape with my life. "I looked death right in the eyes," I wisecrack.
9:50: After about 50 minutes of drills, the players head to the locker room so the Zamboni can clean the ice for the scrimmage. They were pairing up Dupuis, Crosby, and Satan, and they looked good together. Also, Talbot and Fedotenko were put together a lot and that looked good. No one was really slacking. Typical drills.
10:10: The players start to come out onto the ice for the scrimmage. The starting goalie for the white team (Group A) is John Curry, and Brown gets the start for the black team (Group B). The starting forwards for the white team are Miroslav Satan, Pascal Dupuis, and Sidney Crosby. The starting forwards for the black team are Jordan Staal, Evgeni Malkin, and Petr Sykora. Solid.
10:15: I talked about this last year in my training camp report, but I have to bring it up again. It's still gross. At this point before the scrimmage, one of the equipment guys handed Crosby his mouth guard out of his pocket, who then placed it on the boards, rinsed it out with water, and then stuck it in his mouth. Sidney, have you heard of germs?
10:18: The puck drops for the scrimmage.
10:24: After all the lines had a chance to roll out a couple of times, the first line for the black team gets the first "goal" of the 2008-2009 season. It's a goal by Staal, assisted by Sykora and Malkin.
10:26: Brooks Orpik dishes out some free candy with a nasty hit.
10:28: Malkin pulls an amazing spin-o-rama move to try to set up Sykora, but no such luck. The white team recovers and takes it down ice.
10:30: Miroslav Satan scores the first goal for the white team and ties it all up at one apiece. Ryan Stone and Alex Goligoski get credit for the assists on a pretty nice goal.
10:33: The first period (which is a fifteen minute, continuously running clock) ends with the scored tied at 1-1.
10:35: For the second period, Marc-Andre Fleury takes over for David Brown, and Dany Sabourin gets the nod for the white team.
10:40: One defensive pairing really strikes me as absolutely perfect. The coaches have paired Mark Eaton and Kris Letang together. I love it; Eaton's the defensive defenseman, and Letang's the opposite. They are working really well together.
10:45: A breakaway by the Jeff Taffe-Janne Pesonen-Tyler Kennedy line is stopped by Sabourin.
10:46: The man sitting next to me comments on how much he likes Kris Beech as a player. I throw up in my mouth a little bit.
10:50: The second period ends with the teams still tied 1-1. There's a brief intermission for the Zamboni to clean the ice.
11:04: The third period begins, and Max Talbot has a nice breakaway against Fleury, but his shot is stopped.
11:08: Satan scores his second goal for the white team (and it's a pretty sweet one), and Crosby has the lone assist.
11:11: The white team strikes again, this time with Talbot getting the goal, and the assists going to Ben Lovejoy and Fedotenko.
11:13: Goligoski gets called for a penalty, and Bissonnette gets the penalty shot, but is stopped by Sabourin.
11:15: I happen to look over towards the locker room, and see Ryan Whitney watching. He's not on crutches, and was standing for a while, which is definitely a good sign.
11:16: Malkin is denied by Sabourin off of a sweet pass from Sykora.
11:19: The game ends, and the white team wins it, 3-1.
11:21: During their cool-down sprints (something I find to be a bit of an oxymoron), Ruslan Fedotenko loses his footing and wipes out into the boards. The crowd laughs, as do all of the players, including Fedotenko.
11:24: Beech does the exact same thing.
11:34: As the Zamboni cleans the ice, the black team comes out for their drill session. Fleury decides to have a little fun by going down on his leg pads and gliding about 10-15 feet until he gets to the bench.
11:35: The rookies that didn't play during the scrimmage come out to practice, including Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Joey Haddad, among others.
11:40: They begin their many drills, which go on for about an hour. Everyone looked good, especially the Staal-Malkin-Sykora group.
12:45: The players begin to work individually on certain skills. Letang works on different kinds of shots, and Malkin and Staal work together on their face-offs.
1:00: The players leave the ice after a long day of practice. Fleury throws out a couple of pucks to little kids, but it takes a few tries to get the pucks over the glass. That's why you play hockey, Marc-Andre.
Overall, the first day of camp went really well. There are not a lot of spots on this team, so it'll be interesting to see who stays and who goes. Ryan Stone looked pretty good, and it would be nice to see him up here. Jonathan Filewich didn't really stand out, which isn't a good thing. It's time for him to step up his game and make it up here, or else he might be gone. It's a short camp, and cuts are coming quickly. I can't wait to see who's on the opening day roster.
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-Janne Pesonen needs to prove he belongs in the NHL.
-Faceoff-Factor had a pretty comprehensive report on the first day of camp as well.
-The Penguins will hold another "town hall" meeting tonight for season ticket holders. Video of the event will be streamed on their Web site.
-Paul Bissonnette is getting a shot at forward.
-Alex Goligoski is facing some long odds if he hopes to make the Penguins' NHL roster.
-Individual tickets for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins go on sale Monday, 10 a.m.
-The Penguins signed a marketing deal with Cenergy.
-Former Penguins forward Luc Robitaille is suing would-be Penguins owner William "Boots" Del Biaggio.
-The Flyers will name forward Mike Richards their captain/lead puppy drowner. Simon Gagne and Kimmo Timonen will be the alternates. Also, defenseman Derian Hatcher will not attend training camp due to an injured knee.
-The Rangers are high on new forward Nikolai Zherdev.
-Does Montreal coach Guy Carboneau deserve a contract extension?
-Montreal goaltender Carey Price is coming to camp in better shape.
-Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman has proved the doubters wrong.
-Hurricanes forward Justin Williams, one of Carolina's most exciting players, will miss four-to-six months due to an Achilles tendon injury.
-Lightning forward Nick Tarnasky will be out two-to-three weeks due to a thumb injury.
-The Red Wins officially re-signed forward Darren McCarty to a one-year, two-way deal.
-Former Blues forward Kelly Chase is dealing with a brain illness.
-The Flames and forward Marcus Nilson have reached an agreement that will allow him to play in the KHL next season.
-The Avalanche is going after the Cup.
-The Ducks are still trying to move defenseman Mathieu Schneider.
-New Kings coach Terry Murray wants his team to get tougher.
-They're still passionate about the Whalers in Hartford.
-Kukla's Korner has a new revamped look. Check it out.