Adidas Authentic Womens Carl Hagelin #62 Jersey Sale

With their back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, the Pittsburgh Penguins have dealt with the shortest offseasons of any NHL team in the past two years. The shorter summer caused by a deep playoff run has an impact on training, recovery, and the much-needed aspect of rest after a long season.

No one knows the tribulations of a short summer more than Carl Hagelin, who has played in 39 playoff games with the Penguins the past two years, while his 112 postseason contests in his career are the most among any NHLer since he came into the league in 2011-12.

“My body feels the best when there is a good amount of workload,” Hagelin said. “I’m an energetic guy and I need to stay on top of things, make sure I’m eating the right things, and training the right way. I pride myself on being in good condition coming into camp.”

Last year Hagelin finished with six goals and 16 assists in 61 games, his first full season with the Penguins. Despite being a healthy scratch on occasion during the championship run once he recovered from a broken fibula suffered on March 10 that forced him to miss the end of the regular season and part of the playoffs, Hagelin ended up dressing for postseason contests and scored two goals, including the empty-netter in Pittsburgh’s Cup-clinching Game 6 win.

“I try not to dwell on the past at all, we won the Cup,” Hagelin said. “I’m just happy my leg is back healed the way it should be. That’s my take on last year. I played the last four games and it felt good, and now my leg is feeling fine.”

Hagelin did miss some time due to injuries last year as well, and is feeling good and recovered as the preseason schedule begins to wind down.

“This summer I felt pretty fresh, in terms of physically and mentally,” Hagelin said. “Right when the playoffs ended, I was feeling good and able to do the things I wanted to do. It was a good summer, I got a lot of energy from it and I’m excited for a new season here.”

Coming into camp fresh, it’s been evident through skating drills, just how much Hagelin’s quickness is unrivaled. He’s frequently almost a full zone ahead on conditioning drills with his mesmerizing speed, the biggest asset to his game. In the 2012 Skills Competition, Hagelin won the fastest skater event.

His speed can create chances and keeps the opposing team’s defenseman on their toes, while his two-way ability allows him to be an effective penalty killer.

“He’s been one of our core penalty killers since he got here,” head coach Mike Sullivan said.

This year, he’s spent some of the preseason on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel, where his speed is on display by tracking down pucks and creating space for Malkin and Kessel.

“Hagelin is a smart player, he reads the game well,” Kessel said. “He flies out there, he’s fast. When you’re playing with someone with so much speed, they create a lot of opportunities because they’re always in the opponents face and don’t give them a lot of time.”

While that line is something that is likely to be played around with, according to Sullivan, he also is complimentary to what Hagelin brings to whichever line he plays on.

“What I like about Hagelin is he brings that same game regardless of who he plays with,” Sullivan said. “He brings that element of speed, puck pursuit, forces turnovers, and is a responsible player. He’s a really good two-way player that brings a defensive conscious to any line he plays on.”W

Adidas Authentic Womens Sidney Crosby #87 Jersey

Pittsburgh — Penguins coach Mike Sullivan insists the franchise’s decision to visit the White House does not mean the team is wading into the increasingly charged intersection of sports and politics.

Sullivan defended the decision Wednesday, stressing it did not serve as a signal that the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions are picking a side in the increasingly heated debate between President Donald Trump and NFL players who protest during the national anthem.

“I think there appears to be a perception out there that our organization has made a decision to accept the invitation to the White House that we have taken a stance on the issue, when the reality is, it’s just the opposite,” Sullivan said. “We haven’t taken any stance. The Penguins, as an organization and our players, have chosen not to use this platform to take a stance. There appears to be a perception that we have, and it is wrong.”

The Penguins released a statement Sunday indicating they would attend a ceremony at the White House, a tradition for numerous championship teams. The announcement came after numerous media requests following Trump’s decision to rescind an invitation to the NBA’s Stephen Curry after the Golden State Warriors star indicated he would not attend.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said Sunday that he supported the team’s choice to go to the White House, adding “everyone’s got the right to go or not go. But we’ve been invited, and we accepted the invitation. I don’t think you have to read into it any more than that.”

Crosby faced criticism in his native Nova Scotia, with the Halifax Chronicle Herald — Atlantic Canada’s largest-circulation newspaper — running an editorial cartoon Monday depicting Crosby meeting Trump in the Oval Office, with the hockey player saying, “I’m Sid the Kid,” and Trump replying, “I’m Donald the Baby.”

An opinion piece from two local professors offered six reasons for Crosby to stay home, with the fifth saying: “Remember your roots. You are from Cole Harbour, the flashpoint of black and white race relations in Canada for the past 30 years. The parallels between your hometown and the U.S. today are too obvious to ignore.”

A column in Halifax’s alternative weekly, The Coast, compared Crosby to a notably apolitical singer: “The Taylor Swift of hockey has no problem joining his Stanley Cup-winning teammates in Washington.”

One of Halifax’s most outspoken social activists, El Jones, weighed in with a 900-word opinion piece that took the NHL star to task for failing to fall into line with other athletes. Jones, Halifax’s former poet laureate, noted that Crosby said there was “little to no discussion” in the locker room about the decision to visit the White House.

Sullivan defended Crosby from what the coach views as external pressure on the sport’s most popular player to make some sort of political statement.

“The fact that people seem to think that Sid needs to bear this burden of responsibility is unfair,” Sullivan said. “This guy does nothing but go to the rink, help the Penguins win championships and be a good person every day. That’s how we see it. Having said that, we have respect for those that choose to express themselves differently. I wish we would receive the same respect in return, and I wish our captain would as well.”

Former NHL player Georges Laraque called Pittsburgh’s decision “an embarrassment.”

Sullivan said “everyone is well-aware of what’s going on” surrounding the anthem, though no Penguins have participated in any protests. San Jose Sharks forward Joel Ward told The Mercury News he wouldn’t rule out kneeling during the anthem.

Sullivan indicated neither he nor his players would talk further about the White House visit. Pittsburgh opens the regular season Thursday, Oct. 5.

“We want to play hockey, our players want to play hockey,” Sullivan said. “That’s what we want to do, that’s what we love to do. From here on out, we’re going to answer questions revolving around playing hockey, because that’s where our focus needs to be right now, making sure we are prepared for game one.”

Authentic Adidas Youth Jake Guentzel #59 Jersey Sale Online

When Zach Aston-Reese was playing for the Lincoln Stars of the USHL during the 2012-13 season, he remembers going up against Jake Guentzel.

“I was playing center when I was at Lincoln, and I don’t think I won one faceoff against him,” Aston-Reese recollected with a laugh. “I always tell everyone that.”

Which is completely understandable, as Guentzel absolutely tore up the league with Sioux City that season – finishing with 73 points (29G-44A) in 60 games and tying a Tier-1 USHL record with a 21-game scoring streak (16G-27A-43PTS). And now, a few years later, Aston-Reese is teaming up with Guentzel at Penguins training camp.

“Kind of funny how times have changed,” Guentzel said with a laugh.

They are examples of the talent that have come out of the USHL, which is bringing its Fall Classic to UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry from Tuesday, Sep. 27 to Sunday, Oct. 1. All 17 organizations that compete in the league will take to the ice in one location for the first time since, coincidentally enough, the 2012-13 season.

Last year, the Penguins and the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms hosted the 2016 USHL Fall Classic East, and two seasons ago, the Penguins hosted the 2015 Pittsburgh Showcase, a regional USHL preseason event.

“We started this event a few years back and have seen it grow from just a few teams to now all 17 teams of the USHL,” said Rich Hixon, president of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. “So from that standpoint, we wanted to grow along with the event.”

This year’s event, which is an important evaluation benchmark for players heading into the 2018 NHL Draft, provides an ideal opportunity for management and scouts to view the top USHL talent available. Approximately 250 NHL scouts and college recruiters will be watching, along with fans who will have the chance to see future NCAA and NHL talent – including Penguins 2017 third-round pick Clayton Phillips, who plays for Fargo – under one roof.

“A lot of kids are going from AAA hockey into the USHL, then going on to play at some point in Division I or into the pros depending on their talent level,” Hixon said. “This is a first-chance look to see what some of these players are like now that might be playing in the NHL in a year or two. It’s really a great opportunity to showcase that level of hockey.”

It’s also a fantastic opportunity to showcase what the building – and the community – has to offer, especially during the two Tier I (AAA) tournaments for the top 16U and 14U players from the U.S. and Canada that will run in conjunction with the USHL Fall Classic.

The UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, which opened in the fall of 2015, is the official practice facility of the Penguins, is home to the Penguins Elite youth hockey program and has so much to offer players who are looking to advance in the sport.

It has world-class power skating and skill development, with the same high-level coaches who work with the Penguins available to train with youth and amateur players year-round.

“Our goal is to promote the sport itself, and to bring the highest level of amateur hockey in here is a great opportunity for us,” Hixon said. “To showcase the facility and really make Pittsburgh that hockey hub for the region, I think it’s important. We have this event, we had the World Cup of Hockey come in and practice here last year, we had an NWHL All-Star Game and are fortunate enough to have another NWHL game coming in this year.

“For us, it’s really about showcasing the sport at all different levels so parents and kids all understand that pathway to play at the next level.”

Fans interested in attending can purchase tickets at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex front desk starting at noon on Tuesday.

2017 Adidas #35 Mens White Tristan Jarry Jersey

Thoughts, musings, and observations from the Pens’ 4-1 loss against the Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena.

* First of all, it was fantastic getting the chance to play at Little Caesars Arena. When we first got to the building, players went straight to the visitors bench to get their first look. What stood out the most was just how, well, red everything is, as every seat in the entire bowl is a vivid shade of crimson. After that, we toured the concourse and were impressed by the mix of old and new. They brought over all of the statues of Red Wings greats like Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay from Joe Louis Arena, which were spread out by a bunch of cool Detroit-themed restaurants and bars. Just a cool atmosphere.

* Joe Louis Arena was infamous for its bouncy back boards, and the players joked that they made sure to test out the back boards here to make sure they didn’t have the same elasticity. “Some of the guys mentioned the first thing they wanted to test out were how the boards reacted, so you saw a couple guys shooting pucks against the boards and seeing what was happening,” goalie Tristan Jarry said. “I did a couple times too to make sure.”

* Tonight was Jarry’s first full game of the preseason, and I thought he looked solid while facing a lot of quality chances against, including a few odd-man rushes. He was in net for three of the goals, as the fourth was an empty-netter, and some of them were just skilled hockey plays. “I thought he made some real good saves at times during the game for us,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “I thought he might have lost his focus on one of those goals. But overall, I thought he made some real good saves.”

* Sullivan wasn’t as pleased with the play of the guys in front of Jarry. “I thought at times, we were competing hard. Didn’t like the second period at all. I thought the second period, we got outcompeted and we talked about that in between periods. That’s the one thing that we can control out there. It starts with puck battles and wall play and just being more determined than the guy you’re playing against. I thought the second period we got outcompeted. I thought the first period we had a pretty strong period. In the third period I thought we played pretty well.”

* Pittsburgh’s lone goal of the game came off the stick of Scott Wilson on a heads-up play. A Wings player, who was the last man back, lost his footing while in possession of the puck. Wilson jumped on it and went in alone on Jimmy Howard, beating him five-hole.

* The Pens had another tremendous scoring chance thanks to a phenomenal play from Thomas Di Pauli. Di Pauli got tripped, but managed to reach out and force a turnover while flat on his stomach. He got the puck right to Freddie Tiffels alone in front, who tried to deke but got denied. If they could have finished off that play, it would have been incredible.

* Greg McKegg continues to impress. He was in and around the net all night making plays. He has so much speed and uses it to be so hard on pucks, and creates a lot for himself and his teammates as a result. At one point he overtook a defender to force a turnover and get the puck to Chad Ruhwedel for a scoring opportunity, and at another point he received a nice pass, gained the zone and started a strong O-zone shift. It feels like McKegg keeps building on every game, and right now, it feels like he’s the top contender for that third-line center position.

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.”

Youth NHL Adidas #41 Daniel Sprong Penguins Jersey

Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens’ 4-3 win against Columbus at Nationwide Arena.

* Pens fans are well aware of Daniel Sprong and his capabilities. But something that’s really stood out to me watching him in the current preseason is his willingness to put the puck on net, at any time and any given situation. If there’s a broken play, puck on net. If he’s at a bad angle, puck on net. If he has no other play and no space, puck on net.

During a contest against Buffalo in the Prospects Challenge Sprong attempted 20 shots in the game, 15 of which ended up on net. Sprong has one of the nastiest releases on the entire Pens’ roster. Any time he shoots the puck, good things will happen. Including his goal against Columbus.

* Another guy that was putting the puck on the net was forward Zach Aston-Reese. He picked up two points in the game with a goal and assist. Both of his points came on what appeared to be non-consequential plays. On the first, Aston-Reese sent a lazy backhander on net that Sergei Bobrovsky misplayed and Sprong poked in. For his tally, Aston-Reese took a bad angle shot from along the halfwall that sailed far post on Matiss Kivlenieks.

* Sam Miletic is trying to follow in the footsteps of Alex D’Orio and Jordan Bellerive. Both of those players went undrafted, attended the Pens’ Development Camp and Prospects Challenge and earned themselves contracts with the team. Miletic also was undrafted, and attended the Development Camp and Prospects Challenge.

Miletic, 20, is an intriguing prospect. He has a knack for scoring goals, something he did 37 times last year with London of the Ontario Hockey League. He flashed some of those quick hands against the Blue Jackets, finding a pass-off-pads rebound and snapping home the rebound.

Miletic is a late-bloomer that was groomed in the USHL before arriving in London. He’s a long-range prospect, but the payoff could be huge.

Head coach Mike Sullivan said, “He’s the kind of player that grows on you.” That he doesn’t wow you but “he’s always in the right places.”

* There was an interesting play in the third period with goaltender Antti Niemi. During a save Niemi lost his glove, which should draw an automatic whistle from the officials for a stoppage in play. However, the refs did not stop the game. Niemi, to his credit, continued to play. Instinctively, Niemi made a save with his exposed hand. Thankfully there was no damage done.

The referees told Niemi that this season officials will not stop play for goaltenders that lose a blocker or glove, though the rule will still be enforced with a lost helmet. That didn’t give Sullivan any consolation. He said, “I wish they had blown the whistle.”

* There were fewer penalties called in tonight’s game than in the previous two. And only three slashing and zero face-off violations. Either the league figures that it made its point and is backing off the calls, or the players are adapting. Either way, it’s a win for everybody, especially the pace of the game.

Black Premier Olli Maatta #3 Jersey-Official Penguins Shop

Zach Aston-Reese, Jay McClement and Olli Maatta all scored in the Penguins’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at Pegula Ice Arena at Penn State University. Thoughts, musings and observations from Pittsburgh’s preseason opener…

* The facilities were fantastic, and I thought the coolest part was how many Pens fans were in the student section, called the Roar Zone. I counted just four Flyers jerseys, while the rest were dressed in Pens gear. They started loud “Let’s Go Pens!” chants on numerous occasions. “It was awesome,” Bryan Rust said. “Kind of felt like a home college game for us.”

* The Pens opened the game with Daniel Sprong, Greg McKegg and Carl Hagelin on a line, and those three got off to a strong start. As Mike Sullivan told me after the game, Hagelin is a bonafide NHL player – and when young players have the chance to skate with someone like that, it gives them a chance to be successful. That was apparent tonight, as those two were flying out there, and McKegg didn’t seem to have any trouble keeping up “I think I’m getting better every day, and playing with a guy like Hagelin who’s experienced and really fast has really helped me along through each day,” Sprong said. “I was excited to play with him and McKegg and I thought we created a lot of chances and did a lot of good things.”

* I’ve been talking a lot about Sprong’s shot ever since the Prospects Challenge – I mean, the kid had 20 attempts in one game that weekend! But for as much as he continued to put the puck on net, he also didn’t hesitate to pass when there was an opening. Sprong has been seeing the ice so well and made a number of beautiful feeds to teammates, especially on the power play. Overall, he’s been real impressive so far this training camp.

* Speaking of the power play, the Pens ended up with nine chances on the night. Both Josh Archibald and Thomas Di Pauli drew penalties by using their speed to get behind defenders and forcing them to drag them down. They haven’t spent much time on special teams so far this training camp, save for the coaches going over it a little bit this morning. They put some units together they thought would be cohesive and told their guys just to stick with it. Sullivan said it was a good opportunity for the young players to get power-play time against NHL players, and I especially liked seeing Sprong on that half-wall looking a lot like Phil Kessel. And Teddy Blueger made a fantastic play at one point when he threaded a pass through sliding defenders and a tripped Aston-Reese over to Maatta at the back door for the goal.

* Tonight, I thought we saw more of what Aston-Reese’s game is all about. And while Sullivan acknowledged that it’s still early, he said it was the winger’s best performance to this point. Aston-Reese is starting to get used to the pace of this level, and it showed with the timing of his goal. “I noticed at camp, I might have been in the wrong spot,” he said. “Just like a step ahead or a step behind. I got a lucky bounce when I followed up the play just right and the puck landed right on my stick.” Aston-Reese is at his best when he’s working along the boards and around the net, and he was able to do that tonight.

* After skating with Kessel and Evgeni Malkin in the intersquad scrimmages, Aston-Reese played with Blueger – someone he spent time with in WBS at the end of last season and the Prospects Challenge – and Bryan Rust. Aston-Reese said Rust was talking to them all night, “giving us tips and giving us confidence.” Even though Rust is only a couple years older than those two, to them he’s a veteran and someone to look up to, and it’s cool to see him embracing somewhat of a mentor role. “I know when I was in their situation, I had older guys who tried to give little tips here and there,” said Rust, who wore an “A” on his jersey along with Hagelin and Matt Hunwick. “I think that helps, just a lot of encouragement and tips of things we could do better as a line.”

* The Sabres dressed a lot of their star players, including Jack Eichel, Evander Kane and Jason Pominville, who played together on a line. Overall, it was a great experience for the Pens’ young roster, going up against talent like that in a game situation.

Youth Replica Jake Guentzel #59 Jersey-Official Penguins Shop

Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens’ 6-5 win against the Detroit Red Wings at PPG Paints Arena.

* There is no doubt the best player in the game was winger Jake Guentzel. He finished the game with one goal and four assists. More impressive is the way he accumulated those points.

Guentzel’s first assist was the result of some grit and tenacity. He went into the end boards hard, separating Trevor Daley from the puck. Then he made a quick pass to Conor Sheary, whose shot was placed into the net on the rebound by Adam Johnson.

Guentzel’s other two helpers were the result of some great vision. On a power play in the second period a Justin Schultz shot went off of the post. There was a scramble in front and the puck found Guentzel in the slot. While 90 percent of players in the league would have shot the puck, Guentzel saw Sheary (through two Red Wings) and slid him a perfect pass for the easy tap-in.

* Speaking of Johnson, he’s one of five players in training camp that are fighting for the third-line center role on the team. No doubt he was the beneficiary of having Guentzel and Sheary as his linemates tonight, but he made the most of his opportunity. Johnson scored two goals in the game, one on a rebound and the other with a nasty shot into the corner of the net.

This preseason was the first taste of pro hockey in Johnson’s career (he’s played the past two seasons at Minnesota-Duluth). He definitely has a learning curve and would benefit from some time in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. But with games like Wednesday, he’s making that a hard decision for management.

* While we’re on the topic of the third-line center role, don’t count out Greg McKegg. He picked up an assist and had an impressive showing in Tuesday’s contest against Buffalo at Penn State’s Pegula Ice Arena. He made such a good impression on the coaching staff that they played him in back-to-back games.

McKegg, 25, has great offensive instincts, and the speed that it takes to really thrive in Mike Sullivan’s system. He scored a goal against Detroit and nearly had a second (the puck went off the post). He also has some NHL experience which may help in the competition against some of the team’s other younger prospects.

* Pens fans got their first look at newcomer Ryan Reaves, though it was a limited look. Mostly due to the large amount of special teams work in the game, Reaves’ ice time was only 10:55. But he made quite an impact in those 11 minutes, registering seven hits.

* The NHL has made it clear that it’s main two “points of emphasis” regarding officiating this season will be face-off violations and slashing. The crackdown, as it usually does, has begun in the preseason. The tightly-called game resulted in seven penalties in the first period alone. There were 16 penalties in total, seven slashing and two face-off violations.

The calls certainly slowed the pace of the game down. It’s still preseason so both the referees and players are still feeling out the process. But hopefully the players adjust quickly.

Shop Adidas Replica Sidney Crosby Official Jersey

After a weekend of intersquad training camp scrimmages, the Pens held a championship game on Monday at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. Sidney Crosby’s Team 1 played Evgeni Malkin’s Team 2, with the captain’s group skating to a 4-2 victory. Here’s some thoughts, musings and observations…

* The coaching staff have kept Crosby and Malkin with the same linemates through the first few days of training camp. Crosby has skated with Jake Guentzel and Dominik Simon, while Malkin has skated with Zach Aston-Reese and Phil Kessel. “When a young player like Zach has an opportunity to play with established guys like Geno and Phil, it’s a great opportunity for him,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “We’ve tried to put some of our guys in those positions. We did the same thing with Dominik Simon, with Crosby and Guentzel. We’re trying to put players in positions where they have an opportunity to be at their best and show what they can do. What better way to do it then put them with some established players?”

* Crosby and Guentzel picked up right where they left off in terms of chemistry, and today, Simon truly looked to be on the same page as them. They read and reacted off each other for a few sweet plays. Simon did a good job of finding soft spots and getting open, and was rewarded when Crosby fed him with a perfect pass off a turnover that the winger roofed short side. “I think when you get back to camp, you just look to build off of things,” Crosby said. “And with Dom with us there, he did a great job for the three scrimmages. We’ll see kind of moving on, but I think for me and Jake, we just wanted to continue to build.”

* This is Aston-Reese’s first NHL preseason, as he signed with the Penguins in March following his senior year at Northeastern. Which means this has been his first chance to play with elite talents like Malkin and Kessel. “The first day, when we saw the lineup on the wall, it was kind of like, ‘wow,’” Aston-Reese admitted. “But they’re just hockey players at the end of the day, and just got to have a good attitude and just play to your abilities as best you can and learn from it.”

* It’s been an eye-opening experience for Aston-Reese, who said his biggest takeaway was the pace. “I definitely noticed the puck has to be on your stick and off your stick a lot quicker,” he said. “I found a lot of times, I’d wait an extra second to get the puck off my stick or shoot it on net or make a pass, and by the time I got the puck off the play wasn’t there anymore. So it was definitely a good learning experience and having that mindset every day at the rink, that you’ve got to be quicker and quicker and learn from it.” Moving into the exhibition games, Aston-Reese said he wants to continue his strong wall play and prove that he can handle the pace.

* Malkin and Kessel were a little slower to rediscover their chemistry, but today it looked like they found it. They had one lengthy offensive zone shift where they kept the opposing team pinned, and Teddy Blueger came in off a line change and scored against his tired opponents. They also had some nice passing sequences together.

* One defenseman who stood out today was Justin Schultz. Early in the game, he made a beautiful pass to spring Malkin on a breakaway, and later in the game, pulled out some incredible moves to create a quality scoring chance for himself. Overall, he definitely showcased his strengths, as he didn’t hesitate to join the rush and contribute offensively. And though he was often involved in the play, he didn’t let himself get caught out of position. While it’s impressive how the Pens won with a bruised and battered blue line last year, seeing players like Schultz and Kris Letang shine in these scrimmages is so good to see heading into this season.

“Just trying to get back into it,” Schultz said. “It wasn’t that long of a summer, but being away for a couple months, you’ve got to get back into it and get the habits back. It takes a little bit, so it’s good to play these games and get ready.”

Shop 2017 New Penguins Kris Letang Stadium Series Jersey

Perhaps the biggest question regarding the Pens’ power play is who will be the team’s quarterback.

Defenseman Kris Letang has been a staple in that position for the past several years. But after a herniated disc in his neck sidelined him in February, Justin Schultz stepped into that position and filled in admirably.

“These are two guys that are real good power-play guys. And they’re both going to see some time there,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “That’s how I envision it moving forward. They’re both No. 1 power-play defensemen.”

Letang, 30, is a workhorse for the Pens, averaging 25-plus minutes per game over the past three seasons. Splitting some power-play minutes with Schultz could help alleviate some of Letang’s minutes.

“It should give us the ability to spread the minutes evenly,” Sullivan said. “Maybe we can take some workload off of both guys. They’re both bonafide No. 1 power-play defensemen and we’re fortunate to have them.”

Schultz’s presence will also be an asset to the Pens considering Letang is returning from surgery on the aforementioned herniated disc in his neck. So the team has the luxury to ease Letang back into the lineup and build up his minutes.

Letang and Schultz are similar players as both are offensive-type of defensemen. They are great skaters, can carry the puck through traffic and can make plays.

But they also have some differences. Letang likes to freelance from the mid-point position and create offense on his own. Schultz prefers to remain along the blue line as a safety valve and will either dish the puck or tee up a slap shot.

“It’s a huge asset to have two guys like that,” Recchi said.

The Pens’ power play will also be making another adjustment, though this one is not on the ice.

Rick Tocchet, who served as the team’s assistant coach and oversaw the power play, has departed for Arizona to become a head coach.

Now, new assistant coaches Mark Recchi and Sergei Gonchar will take over in that department, with the help of head coach Mike Sullivan, of course.

“We collaborate on everything. We’re working on things together,” Recchi said. “We have different ideas, bounce things off of each other. None of us have egos so we’ll have fun with it. When you have a group like this, it’s enjoyable and seeing what we can do.”

There’s a reason Recchi is excited to inherit this group. The Pens’ power play features all the ingredients needed for success with some of the best offensive players in the entire league in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Letang and Phil Kessel.

The unit ranked third in the National Hockey League last season with a success rate of 23.1 percent. The Pens even had three players reach double digits in power-play goals with Crosby (14), Malkin (11) and Patric Hornqvist (10), while Kessel totaled 30 power-play points.

“A lot of the video we watched, it’s simple why we’re effective,” Recchi said. “We’ll try not to get in the way.”

Having too many capable people is certainly a nice problem to have. Beyond the top unit, the Pens have a plethora of players that can step in and delivery like Jake Guentzel, Conor Sheary or Bryan Rust.

“You go down the list, it’s a great thing,” Recchi said. “We have a lot of guys that can get that opportunity. Whoever is playing well is going to get that opportunity. That’s the nice thing. We can reward guys for playing well. When guys are struggling we can put them in situations to get them out of it.”