DETROIT -- Tim Brent had a week's full of chances to impress Penguins officials prior to the Penguins' exhibition game against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Friday.
The problem, Brent assessed, was that only "the first three days went well."
"I have been in this situation before," Brent said. "I really need to bear down. I need to show (the Penguins) that this is where I should be."
Certainly, Pittsburgh is where Brent could be -- if not to start the regular season, then at some point during it.
Brent was acquired June 23 from Anaheim for Stephen Dixion. Assistant general manager Chuck Fletcher talked of Brent then as though he would have a legitimate opportunity to play with the Penguins, even though his NHL experience was all of 15 games.
"The first thing (Fletcher) told me was that there were no other right-handed centers in the organization, and that if I could come into camp and win face-offs I would get a good look," Brent said.
Brent, 23, began yesterday believing he still needed to impress the Penguins.
"My game in Montreal (Sept. 17) was not my best game ever," Brent said of his minus-1 effort in less than seven minutes of ice-time. "I have done a lot of thinking about it. I actually probably thought the game too much."
Brent pledged to think less and "skate more" last night. Still, an inescapable truth lurked in his mind.
"It is crunch-time now," Brent said. "They will not be taking too many guys to West Point (N.Y.)."
Brent opened camp seemingly poised to press Maxime Talbot for the fourth-line center position. Now, he is simply hoping to board the plane when the Penguins leave for the United States Military Academy, where they will open another team bonding session …