This was Todd Reirden's first time heading up the staff portion of the Penguins' summer rookie and prospects camp. He liked the way the players absorbed things.
"Really happy with the prospects and the time we had with them," said Reirden, coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Penguins who ran the camp along with Penguins assistant to the general manager Tom Fitzgerald and Robert Morris University coach Derek Schooley.
"Their effort was exceptional in terms of trying everything we had for them. We had a lot for them. We got into some of our systems that we use in Wilkes-Barre and in Pittsburgh, a different area every one of the four days we were on the ice."
The six-day camp concluded with a scrimmage yesterday at Southpointe. Eric Tangradi, Nick Johnson, Keven Veilleux and Luca Caputi scored in the scrimmage, with Veilleux, Jonathan D'Aversa, Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Alex Grant and Nathan Moon scoring in a shootout.
For defenseman Simon Despres, the Penguins' first-round draft pick last month, the camp was a lead-up to his 18th birthday tomorrow. If he was overwhelmed as the youngest player in the group, he didn't let it show.
"I learned a lot this week," he said. "I learned how pro players train. I really appreciated the experience. It was a great time."
In addition to the four days on the ice and testing, seminars and training sessions off the ice, the prospects took part in activities aimed at team-building, including a Pirates game, a scavenger hunt and a Paintball outing.
Not things all teams do.
"They make it real easy to get familiar with the other guys," said Tangradi, who attended a prospects camp with Anaheim the past two summers. "In Anaheim, there's a lot of stuff on your own and you had to mingle yourself. Here, you really don't have a choice. You basically live at the rink with the other guys, and that's good."
Winger Joey Haddad, the team's third-round draft pick this year, attended camp but did not skate. He had arthroscopic knee surgery in May to repair a lateral tear in his meniscus, something he played with all season with Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, getting 30 goals, 55 points in 50 games.
"It's not so much the knee; it's getting my leg strong again after the surgery," Haddad said.
Shelly Anderson can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-1721.