Category Archives: Greg McKegg Jersey

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Here is a look at 3 takeaways from the Penguins’ Monday afternoon practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

1. McKegg fitting in

Center Greg McKegg has been a pleasant surprise in the early onset of the season, both as a third-line center and as a member of the Penguins’ penalty killing unit.

McKegg picked up his first goal as a Penguin – shorthanded – in a 4-3 victory against Florida on Saturday night.

“It’s always nice getting the first one out of the way as quick as possible to start the season,” McKegg said. “It’s been great to be here so far. I think we’re getting better with each game. We just have to build off of that.”

The Penguins currently have the 8th-ranked penalty killing group in the NHL with an 86.2-percent conversion rate, which includes a run of 18 straight kills. McKegg has big part of that early-season success.

“It’s nice getting familiar with some of the guy’s tendencies and things like that,” McKegg said. “We’re working off of each other. We’ve been able to find some chemistry.”

Though McKegg is currently in the third-line center role, a position he won out of training camp, he knows that the Penguins could make a move at any time to acquire another center. That has given him the hunger to prove that he deserves to keep that role for the season.

“I’m taking it day-by-day and putting my best foot forward anytime you’re on the ice,” McKegg said. “I just want to help the team any way I can.”

2. Pens hitting the road

Tuesday, the Penguins will embark on a three-game road trip, taking on the New York Rangers on Oct. 17, before a back-to-back against Florida and Tampa Bay on Oct. 20-21. Pittsburgh finished second in the NHL with a home record of 31-6-4 last season, but were only 19-15-7 on the road.

“It’s not like we draw up a game plan for the home games and a game plan for the away games,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “There is an element of simplifying the game early on when you are on the road to take some momentum away and take the crowd out of it.”

Goaltender Matt Murray believes it is more about their attitude than actual execution.

“I think it’s just a mindset,” Murray said. “It’s about playing with the confidence as if we were at home.”

Dating back to 2016, the Penguins have won six of their last seven games at Madison Square Garden against the Blueshirts, which includes two playoff contests. The Penguins have already faced the Panthers and Lightning this season, topping Florida 4-3 at home, and falling to the Lightning 5-4 on the road.

“We just have to play a simple game and a speed game,” defenseman Justin Schultz said. “It’s tough to win on the road in this league, so we have to be ready to play.”

With the pair of games against the league’s two Florida franchises, that makes three back-to-back sets through the first three weeks of the season for Pittsburgh, a trait of the Penguins’ schedule no other team can attest to. Their 19 back-to-back sets this season are tied for the league lead with Ottawa.

“I think we just need to be a little bit better in back-to-backs,” Murray said. “It’s a tough scenario, with travel, and we have a whole lot of team so it’s not going to be easy this year, but we have to be better and start winning some of those back-to-backs.”

3. Workflow

The Pens used the following workflow at practice…





(Wildon, Archibald)





2017 Adidas New Greg McKegg Pittsburgh Penguins Jersey

In the NHL, July 1 is usually filled with big signings from teams as general managers jump at the first chance to add valuable assets to their organization and gear up for next season. For every game-breaking free agent acquisition, there are also a bunch of smaller ones used to add depth to teams.

Greg McKegg was one of those deals for the Penguins that day, as they inked the 25-year-old to a one-year, two-way deal worth $650,000.

 ”Their reputation speaks for itself,” McKegg said. “The back-to-back Cups and the winning culture they have here, it’s been a good experience so far and a learning process.”

While the signing may not have made a big splash at the time, McKegg is certainly garnering attention now with his impressive performance at training camp.

While the competition for the third-line center role has been well documented – with a handful of viable candidates in Carter Rowney, Teddy Blueger, Adam Johnson, and Jay McClement in the mix for the position – McKegg is another worthwhile name under consideration.

He’s played well so far in the preseason, skating in all three of Pittsburgh’s exhibition games to this point. And not only did McKegg score a goal against Detroit on Wednesday – he’s stood out with his speed, tenacity and faceoff ability.

McKegg’s NHL experience can only help his chance, as the center has appeared in 65 games over parts of four seasons. Head coach Mike Sullivan has liked what he’s seen so far from McKegg, who played the most out of any Penguins forward on Friday against Columbus, registering 21:46 minutes of ice time.

“We’ve seen a lot from him, he’s been very impressive,” Sullivan said. “One of the reasons his minutes climbed is because we’re using him in a lot of situations. We’ve used him on power play, we’ve used him on the penalty kill, and we’ve put him with different people. He can skate, he’s got a maturity to his game, and he has some NHL experience. We’ve really liked what we’ve seen at this point, but it’s still the middle of training camp so we need to keep watching and we’ll evaluate as we go.”

McKegg’s ability to bring a versatile game could be a big deciding factor in whether McKegg starts the season in Pittsburgh or in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The 6-foot, 192-pound pivot possesses good offensive instincts and standout speed. While he isn’t the most physical, he doesn’t shy away from contact either. He hopes to bring all of that to the Penguins this season.

“My overall game, I think the last few years I was just trying to round out my game. I know I can bring a speed factor and hopefully contribute any way I can,” McKegg said.

McKegg was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third round (62nd overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft. While he mostly starred with the Marlies, Toronto’s AHL affiliate, he did partake in four NHL games with the big club over two seasons.

The majority of his NHL experience came last year, as he skated in a combined 46 games with Florida and Tampa Bay. He ended up playing two games in Pittsburgh last season, one with the Panthers and one with the Lightning. The atmosphere in the arena has McKegg excited to have the chance to make playing at PPG Paints Arena a much more common occurrence.

“I remember the building being really loud and right on top of you,” McKegg said. “It was a lot of fun to play. You knew right from the get-go it was going to be a great atmosphere and it definitely lived up to that.”