Penguins Notebook: Flu-like illness puts Malone on ice

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NEW YORK -- The Penguins count on Ryan Malone to do a lot of things: play left wing on the No. 1 line, kill penalties, work the power play.

"He's an important part of our team," coach Michel Therrien said. "He gets quality minutes."

Malone didn't get any of those when the Penguins faced the New York Rangers last night, because he is the latest victim of the flu-like ailment that is sweeping through the team.

His place in the lineup was taken by Erik Christensen, who missed the Penguins' 3-2 victory Saturday on Long Island because of a strained neck and has struggled to produce for much of this season.

"It's going to give him an opportunity to bounce back," Therrien said.

Sergei Gonchar, who sat out Saturday because of illness, was back in the lineup last night, but Therrien dressed seven defensemen, one more than usual, because of concerns about Gonchar's stamina.

"When a guy has been sick like he was, sometimes the energy [level] isn't 100 percent, and you can get tired quickly," Therrien said.

Forward Connor James was a healthy scratch for the Penguins.

Chris Simon incident

New York Islanders winger Chris Simon issued a public apology Monday, two days after he intentionally stepped on Jarkko Ruutu of the Penguins with his skate.

Simon still hasn't said anything directly to Ruutu, however. But that doesn't seem to upset Ruutu, who made it clear after the game-day skate that he isn't dwelling on the incident.

"I'll move on," Ruutu said. "I don't have anything to say about the whole thing. I'm just getting ready for the next game. That's all that matters for me."

Asked if he feels any lingering effects of Simon's actions, Ruutu responded simply, "I'm fine."

Therrien acknowledged that he has watched replays of the episode but declined to say what type of penalty he would like to see the league impose.

"No one in the league likes to see those types of things, but I'm not going to comment," Therrien said. "[Simon] got a match penalty, and the league will take care of it."

Simon, accompanied by Islanders general manager Garth Snow, had a hearing yesterday in Toronto with league executive Colin Campbell, who handles supplemental discipline. Simon is on an indefinite leave of absence.

Crosby still top vote-getter

Penguins center Sidney Crosby continues to lead Eastern Conference players in the All-Star balloting, pulling in 381,941 votes.

Andrei Markov of Montreal (247,246) and Boston's Zdeno Chara (197,042) are the top defensemen in the balloting, while New Jersey's Martin Brodeur (149,067) is in first place among goalies.

Ryan Whitney of the Penguins remains seventh among Eastern defensemen with 104,737 and center Evgeni Malkin (63,779) has slipped to 11th among forwards.

Workout at new arena

The Penguins are scheduled to practice today at Agganis Arena at Boston University.

Whitney, who attended Boston University, never played in that facility because it opened after he turned pro but works out there in the offseason.

Last season, the Penguins held a workout on the campus of Boston College, which produced defensemen Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi.

Although the rivalry between the Boston schools is extremely intense, Scuderi said he actually is looking forward to today's practice.

"I never played in the new arena, so it should be pretty cool to go there," he said.



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