CRANBERRY — Mike Sullivan’s eyes widened as he leaned into the answer to stress how little time there is for players fighting for the few jobs with the Pittsburgh Penguins. While we may yawn through a training camp or preseason, and some even snooze through the regular season, there are players battling for roster spots, and the next few days may be the beginning or end of some opportunities.
Preseason games begin Sunday.
In years past, September heroes like Ryan Haggerty emerged in the Penguins training camp scrimmages. The camp would culminate in a tournament complete with a winner’s team picture. Extraneous frivolities do not fit into the three-day training camp, but there’s nothing frivolous about the camp and a chance to make an impression.
“We only have a finite amount of time between now and the opening night. I told the guys yesterday, we have essentially 12 practice days, not including exhibition days…it’s not a lot of time to get our team ready for Day 1,” Sullivan said. “So we’re trying to put a purposeful camp together where we give players an opportunity to show what they can do and give them an opportunity to make the roster. We’re also trying to prepare our team for the opening night…”