This is compliments of Pensfannn over at the www.letsgopens.com
message board. This is the second time Pensfannn has seen Malkin skate this week and it sounds like it was impressive. Hopefully we will all have the same opportunity in a couple weeks when Penguins Rookie camp opens in a couple weeks.
Here is the post and a link to it: http://www.letsgopens.com/scripts/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=4612&start=25
Saw Malkin practice again today!
Players in attendance: Jeremy “Styles” Roenick, Rob Blake, Anson Carter, Sean Avery, Chris Simon, Glen Murray, Noah Clarke, Mathieu Schneider, George Parros, Sean O’Donnell, Andrei Zyuzkin, Alex Frolov (I think), Brian Salcido and about 6 others that were prospects or that I couldn’t identify.
They started out with length of the ice breakout drills that would then develop into a 2 on 1. Following that, a D and forward would join the play for a 3 on 2 the other way. The first two when Malkin was up featured him with Roenick! The best play with those two involved Roenick crossing from left to right and leaving the puck at a stand still in the high slot for Evgeni as he crossed behind JRo. Malkin took a high slapper - just wide to the right, but a BLAST.
One of the 2 on 1 portions consisted of Malkin with Anson Carter - who looks to be in fantastic shape. Carter lifted a pass over the D’s stick and Malkin one-timed into the opposite low corner from the right side of the crease. Another play with Anson was a 3 on 2 give-and-go that resulted in a great save by the goalie. Carter and Malkin would be deadly together! (Can we put Army on the 3rd line??)
Another very slick move was a breakout pass from Rob Blake to Malkin over two lines. The pass was behind Evgeni, but he effortlessly kicked the puck to his stick. Very Crosby-like! Malkin’s stick-handling, skating and passing are at NHL All-Star levels. At times he looks like LeCavalier. Other times like a young Mario Lemieux.
A scrimmage took place afterwards. Most of the big name stars were on the opposite team - Roenick, Carter, Murray, Blake. They had another player that looked like Drury, but wasn’t. Definitely an NHLer though. Malkin’s teammates were O’Donnell, Schneider, Avery, Parros, Simon, Clarke, and an Anaheim prospect named Salcido.
Malkin was a standout in the scrimmage. He was paired with Avery and Salcido most of the time. The first goal that Malkin scored was a 2 on 1 where he skated all the way in on the right side with Salcido, brought it to the doorstep while looking pass... faked a pass to open the goalie’s legs... and went 5 hole. Another time he set Avery up for a goal with a nice pass. The opposing goalie was a young prospect, not even a draftee I believe. It wasn’t like Malkin beat Brodeur, but the set-ups and goals were great.
Malkin’s second goal occurred when he passed to Salcido who skated behind the net. Evgeni parked right in front and slammed home a pass back from Salcido (he just signed with Anaheim - their 5th round pick last year). Another assist was a pass to Noah Clarke who set up Avery.
For the other team, their best goals were scored by Murray on a one-timer, who took a rocket pass from Anson Carter... Roenick, who came all the way in on a breakaway, came to a full stop in front of the cage, and flipped it over the goalie’s left shoulder... and one scored by a prospect, I believe, wearing a white jersey with red socks who went upper corner on a breakaway. Another goal of theirs was a 2 on 1 Rob Blake to Anson Carter where Blake took it all the way in and dished it at the last second. Blake looks ready to go, by the way. And Glen Murray still has it!
The final of the scrimmage was about 9 to 9, maybe 10-9 for Malkin’s team. I counted 2 goals and 3 assists for Malkin.
He has an excellent knack for getting to open ice, and he has no problem attacking the net at any time. The goal he scored where he parked in front of the net, he would assuredly have taken stick and body abuse in a real game, but he invaded the slot, came to a quick stop and had his stick down and ready. And he buried it.
Malkin is no doubt the REAL DEAL. He stands out, even with NHL All-Stars. The no-contact scrimmages say nothing about his ability to take hits, or be clutched and grabbed, or be targeted by a big-league agitator... but he is reminiscent of a young Mario Lemieux by the way he moves in the offensive zone. He has an excellent work ethic too. Again, he was one of the last 2 or 3 players on the ice.
The only downsides: he needs to put on 15 pounds asap - and I hope he has thick skin because he will certainly take a lot of physical abuse this year. And again, he wore Capri jeans when he left the building.