CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. – For as much as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ first day of training camp Friday felt like a reunion of the group that won the Stanley Cup just three months ago, there were some notable differences.
Perhaps none more so than the fact that the locker immediately to the left of the entrance to the locker room in Cranberry no longer had a “#29 – FLEURY” placard affixed above it.
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, selected by Las Vegas in this summer’s expansion draft, was one of several players the Penguins had to part with this offseason, and his absence was felt as the team reconvened Friday morning at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
“It’s definitely a little odd walking in here, and you don’t see that happy face every time in the locker room,” defenseman Olli Maatta said. “It’s part of the game. There’s nothing you can do about it.”
Captain Sidney Crosby said the fact that Fleury, who had been with the Penguins since 2003, wouldn’t be around this season started creeping up on him as training camp approached.
“The skates leading up and things like that, it’s weird not having him around,” Crosby said. “But I think once you’re in the mix, you probably don’t think about it as much.
“It was a little weird here coming into camp, not seeing him around. But he looks like he’s adjusting to Vegas and he’s going to be great for them there.”