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Penguins notebook: First-round pick Kapanen practices, excited to join team

Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review - Penguins first-round pick Kasperi Kapanen takes a shot during prospects camp Tuesday, July 15, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review</em></div>Penguins first-round pick Kasperi Kapanen takes a shot during prospects camp Tuesday, July 15, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review - Penguins first-round pick Kasperi Kapanen eyes up a shot during prospects camp Tuesday, July 15, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review</em></div>Penguins first-round pick Kasperi Kapanen eyes up a shot during prospects camp Tuesday, July 15, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.

Penguins/NHL Videos

Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 7:36 p.m.
 

Right wing Kasperi Kapanen is only 17 but looked quite comfortable in his first day on the Consol Energy Center ice.

The Penguins' recent first-round draft pick joined teammates in drills during the first day of prospect development camp and said he felt fairly calm throughout, even though it was an eye-opening day.

“Being in this locker room,” he said, “seeing all the people here, putting on that Penguins uniform — it's starting to hit me now. But it's good.”

Kapanen, whose father, Sami, played parts of 11 seasons in the NHL with the Hartford/Carolina franchise and the Flyers, might have been impressed with his new surroundings but certainly wasn't in awe.

He tweeted a picture of himself in his hotel room one day earlier and was every bit at ease with his new teammates.

“I feel really good right now,” he said, alluding to a lack of nerves. “The legs felt bad, but it will come later in the week. I was just happy to be on the ice.”

Kapanen was a standout performer in the opening day of prospect development camp, his unique skating strides sticking out during many rushes.

General manager Jim Rutherford believes Kapanen can contend for a roster spot in training camp.

“The coaches are really great people here,” Kapanen said. “I think we have a great coaching staff. I'm excited. I'm just trying to be a sponge right now.”

• Defenseman Brian Dumoulin, who will be given an opportunity to make the Penguins' roster in training camp, was a standout during the opening day of development camp. He said his goal “absolutely” is to make the Penguins' roster this fall.

• Penguins coach Mike Johnston, along with assistants Rick Tocchet and Gary Agnew, were present for on-ice drills Tuesday.

— Josh Yohe

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