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View Full Version : Caputi's potential has Penguins excited



Shieldsz
08-26-2008, 02:10 AM
Doing it and knowing you can do it are two different things.

Luca Caputi learned the difference last season. He and the Pittsburgh Penguins hope that lesson carries into what should be a very bright future.

Caputi, taken in the fourth round (No. 111) of the 2007 Entry Draft, finished third in the Ontario Hockey League with 51 goals and fourth with 111 points, results nearly double his previous season totals of 27 goals and 65 points.

"If you told me at the beginning of the year that I would score 50 goals, I probably would have laughed," Caputi told NHL.com. "But as the season progressed and it became reality, I stayed focused and confident the whole season."

That focus and consistency was something Caputi wanted to concentrate on heading into the 2007-08 season, and it certainly paid off. He was as good in the first half -- 27 goals in his first 37 games -- as he was in the second -- 24 goals in his last 29 games.

"I just wanted to play the same way, the same style," said Caputi. "I knew I would be successful, but how successfully showed through my statistics. I tried to play a simple game, (play) the same way every night."

Helping Caputi in that vein was his work ethic.

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"He dedicated himself to training hard and dropped weight and really got himself into really good physical condition," said Jay Heinbuck, the Penguins' director of amateur scouting. "Now you talk to (the IceDogs) coaching staff, he sets an unbelievable example for the rest of the team. He's a workaholic."

When Caputi first joined the IceDogs, he was overweight at 220 pounds and in poor condition.

"That was the main factor when I first came to junior from AAA," said Caputi. "I was probably around 220 pounds, but it was all baby fat. None of it was good. I learned very quickly in my first OHL camp, and my first coach, Greg Gilbert, said you're not going to be a good hockey player with that weight and conditioning."

What helped Caputi was peer pressure from some of his IceDogs teammates, Patrick O'Sullivan and Daniel Carcillo.

"In the last two years, he's seen guys he played with being drafted," said Mario Cicchillo, a former IceDogs assistant who became coach last season. "We had on our team the one year Patrick O'Sullivan. … and he had great habits, on-ice and off-ice. Another guy we had was Daniel Carcillo, and he was the same thing, days off he'd be skating, he'd be one of the hardest workers in the gym. He'd see the guys working, and think if I want to get to the National Hockey League, I have to pay attention to off-ice training."

There some good early returns. After scoring just eight goals in his first two junior seasons, he had 27 goals and 65 points in 2006-07.

The jump to the following season, though, was stunning.

"You'd like to think a kid is always going to have a jump in production year after year, so I did expect a jump," said Heinbuck, "but I didn't think he'd be a 50-goal scorer in the OHL. We saw some intriguing qualities; we saw he could put the puck in the net. … I did some homework on him, and if you go back in the past he had been a scorer in minor hockey (so) he has run numbers in the past. It didn't surprise me his production increased, but not that much."

Cicchillo, who had a front-row seat, wasn't all that surprised. He's known Caputi since he was 7 years old, and knew just what kind of player he was dealing with.

"He was always a goal scorer," said Cicchillo. "He could always score goals; I've seen him first-hand as he played minor hockey. … Goal scorers never really lose their touch and he proved it."

Beyond the numbers, the Penguins also have been impressed with Caputi's hockey sense and demeanor on and off the ice.

"He always was around the puck or always 6-10 feet from a teammate (for) support, out-number guys," said Tom Fitzgerald, the Penguins' director of player development. "That's his asset. When I followed him during the season, it showed how well he supported the puck. The analogy is a (baseball) second baseman. You don't sit there and ask yourself, what do I do if the ball is hit to me. It's before the batter steps in the box, you know where you're going with the ball if it's hit to you.

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FULL ARTICLE (http://penguins.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=379942)

Steelinks
08-26-2008, 09:21 AM
I would love to see what this kid can do next to Crosby. Put him on Bings line MT!!! Go Pens.

Sbank
08-26-2008, 03:03 PM
Let him develop a little more and get more playing time for minor league then bring him up next year.

ShaunRiching9
08-26-2008, 03:35 PM
i wouldnt bring him up at hil this year let him have a full year of AHL action the he be ready

Sbank
08-27-2008, 09:03 PM
i wouldnt bring him up at hil this year let him have a full year of AHL action the he be ready

That what I was thinking. Next year our team going to real good. Hell even this year we are going to better then last year.

KJL
08-30-2008, 03:52 AM
Let him develop a little more and get more playing time for minor league then bring him up next year.

How can you say that without seeing how he does at camp? Caputi put up similar totals to Stamkos last year and may be ready to make the leap to the bigs. It would be stupid to send him to the minors if he is ready to contribute now - the experience you get playing 14 minutes in the NHL is worth way more than playing 20 minutes in the minors.

Sbank
08-30-2008, 11:04 PM
How can you say that without seeing how he does at camp? Caputi put up similar totals to Stamkos last year and may be ready to make the leap to the bigs. It would be stupid to send him to the minors if he is ready to contribute now - the experience you get playing 14 minutes in the NHL is worth way more than playing 20 minutes in the minors.

I don't mind seeing up in the NHL but letting play 20 minutes int he minors would be more efficient begin of the season. I not saying he not he ready. You don't bring a guy with this potential up unless he ready and he has a spot on the team. I rather see him play 20 minutes and bring him up this season when an injure happens and we need to bring someone up.

ldarius21
09-01-2008, 11:42 AM
He will need to bulk up a bit, from what I have seen he will not be able to take the punishment that the NHL has to offer, once he gets a taste of the big game he will know what is needed to be around with the big club, get him some game action and let him develop in the minor system so he really can contribute