Penguins Notebook: Arbour returns tonight to coach 1,500th game

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DENVER -- Al Arbour was a fixture behind the New York Islanders bench for most of the 1970s, 1980s and into the 1990s.

He will be there one more time tonight when the Penguins play on Long Island.

Arbour signed a short-term contract yesterday and, with the blessing of Islanders coach Ted Nolan, will coach his 1,500th NHL game before going back into retirement. He turned 75 Thursday and will be the oldest man to coach an NHL game.

"When you bring Al Arbour to the bench, that's a good thing," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "I wish that he could also have on the ice [Mike] Bossy and Denis Potvin and Bryan Trottier. That would be even better."

With those players and others, Arbour guided the Islanders to four Stanley Cups. He retired in 1994 and is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"He had such a good career and was such a great coach," said Therrien, who hopes to meet Arbour. "I remember the first time I coached against Scotty Bowman, that was something special to me because I grew up watching him. And watching Al Arbour win all those Stanley Cups, to see him behind the bench is going to be special."

Uniform discontent

Although Reebok announced last month that it would offer a tweaked version of its Rbk EDGE uniform to any NHL player interested in trying it, a survey of about half the Penguins players showed that most haven't heard much about the offer, and there is no word on when the alternate uniforms will be available.

Most, though -- including leading scorer and captain Sidney Crosby, who has an endorsement deal with Reebok -- would be interested in trying the alternate version, which will look identical to the current model.

Players throughout the league have had problems with perspiration trapped under the water-resistant uniforms. Reebok is making the newer models less water-resistant.

The Rbk EDGE was introduced league-wide this season.

Staph protection

The Penguins are aware of the recent concerns over the tough-to-fight bacterial infection methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, which can be spread among teammates in locker rooms and has been found in the Mt. Lebanon and Steel Valley school districts.

The training and equipment staff hasn't changed anything to try to prevent MRSA, a Penguins spokesman said, but that's because several precautions are already standard.

All equipment and training areas are wiped down regularly and reportedly carry the distinct aroma of disinfectant.

Whitney questionable

Defenseman Ryan Whitney, who left Thursday's game with a groin injury, was held out of practice. He will be re-evaluated at the morning skate today.



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