CRANBERRY, Pa. -- Sidney Crosby, forever a World War II history buff, invested the better part of his summer traveling across Europe to see both the sites and the sights. Austria. Germany. Switzerland. Spain. England. Places where civilization-changing events occurred, and other places that were just pleasing to the eye.
"Amazing experience," the captain was telling me Wednesday. "Really puts everything into perspective."
Yeah, like a little loss in a hockey game.
And yet, there he was, with 13 other Penguins likely to make the opening-night lineup, chewing up the Lemieux Sports Complex ice for an hour-plus informal skate under the dogged supervision of one Patric Hornqvist -- "I don't think they like me anymore," the de facto drill instructor would muse later -- all while making clear that the collective intent is to get back in business.
Seriously, nine days before camp, nearly three quarters of the team was present: Crosby, Hornqvist, Carl Hagelin, Derick Brassard, Jake Guentzel, Matt Cullen, Dominik Simon, Zach Aston-Reese, Olli Maatta, Jack Johnson, Chad Ruhwedel, Jamie Oleksiak, Juuso Riikola and ... eventually, Brian Dumoulin.