Penguins Notebook: Winger remains with Crosby

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Left winger Ruslan Fedotenko, who was moved to the top line with center Sidney Crosby and right winger Miroslav Satan midway through the Penguins' 5-4 preseason win Friday at Toronto, remained there yesterday when the Penguins had their first full-scale practice since arriving in Europe.

Coach Michel Therrien said Fedotenko -- like Satan a former Islanders player and free agent signee over the summer -- will remain on Crosby's flank at least through the exhibition game Thursday against Jokerit in Helsinki, Finland.

"The last game, I talked with Sid and said I wanted to make that switch for the second half of the game to see how those guys fit in," Therrien said. "I liked the result. We're going to try it again on Thursday, but for opening the season [Saturday against Ottawa], I'm going to wait a little bit and see."

Fedotenko said Crosby is a winger's best friend.

"He's a great passer," he said. "He sees the ice well and has great skills, so you just put yourself in good position to be aggressive to the net and 99 percent [of the time] he will get that puck right on your tape."

Malkin in English

Penguins employee George Birman, who has acted as Evgeni Malkin's interpreter in interviews in Pittsburgh, isn't in Stockholm.

Neither is defenseman and fellow Russian Sergei Gonchar, who has a dislocated shoulder.

Even winger Petr Sykora, a Czech who speaks Russian, was not around at practice because of a respiratory illness.

Malkin, approached by a handful of reporters, eyed the video cameras and tried to beg off an interview request in the locker room at Hovet Arena. The reporters and team public-relations staff wouldn't let him off the hook, and he handled the questions in English well in spite of his reservations.

"I've been a couple times to Sweden. Stockholm is a nice city," Malkin said, adding he remembered scoring a goal for the Russian national team here.

Asked to assess himself going into the season, the third-year NHL player said: "My English is better and I had good workouts this summer. I feel great. I think it's [going to be] a good season."

Slap shots

Fans can watch the opener at 2:30 p.m. Saturday against Ottawa in Stockholm at Mellon Arena. There also will be skating sessions and tours of the building. Admission and parking are free. Enter Gate 1 beginning at 11:30 a.m. ... Defenseman Hal Gill (bruised knee) participated in the full practice session. ... All the players who had been assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League off the camp roster and who needed to clear waivers, did so.


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