Penguins No. 1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury says the team's training staff is preaching a little more caution about his injury than he would like, but he's willing to listen.
"The trainers told me it's going to be day to day, to give it a little bit of rest and try it out this week. The trainers want to be safe, not rush anything," Fleury said yesterday after sitting out the morning skate.
"Sometimes I think they are [overly] cautious, but I think it's just tough to be sidelined. ... If it gets worse, it's going to come back in the season and I don't want that. I want it to be done now and not think about it the rest of the season."
Fleury missed last night's game against Minnesota at Mellon Arena because of what is believed to be a lower-body injury that occurred Saturday late in a game against Buffalo.
Less-than-ideal road conditions weren't about to deter rookie goaltender John Curry, who was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to serve as Dany Sabourin's backup while Fleury is out.
"It was snowing off and on the whole way, so it was a slow drive," Curry said of the trip he made Monday night to Pittsburgh.
Knowing he would wind up dressing for an NHL game for the first time made it worth it.
"It wasn't too painful," he said.
Curry, 24, was signed as a free agent in July 2007 after playing for Boston University. He lasted through training camp this year and traveled to Sweden as the Penguins' third goaltender for a trip to open the season with two games against Ottawa, but did not dress.
In about 24 hours leading to last night, he went from being a minor-league goaltender to an NHL backup.
"It's a lot of adrenaline," he said. "You're excited, calling your friends and talking to your family, but trying to get ready. You know the game is a day away and even if I'm not starting, you never know what can happen, so you have to be ready."
Penguins coach Michel Therrien reminded Curry of what happened last season. With Fleury out for an extended period because of a high ankle sprain, Ty Conklin was recalled from Wilkes-Barre and eventually surpassed Sabourin as the starter while Fleury was hurt.
"We went through this last year, losing Marc and what happened with Conklin. We all know the story with Conklin," Therrien said. "You've got to make sure [Curry] is prepared. At the same time, Sabourin has played really well for us."
Last night marked the first time Penguins defenseman Alex Goligoski got to play against his home-state team.
"I was a big fan of them, so it's kind of cool to play against that team," said Goligoski, who is from Grand Rapids, Minn., and was an All-American at the University of Minnesota. "I've followed them for a long time."
The Wild has been in the NHL since 2000. Goligoski said he never really followed the Minnesota North Stars, who moved to Dallas and became the Stars in 1993, when Goligoski was 8.
With newly acquired defenseman Philippe Boucher making his Penguins debut, the team scratched defenseman Mark Eaton. Minnesota scratched defenseman Tomas Mojzis, wingers Craig Waller and Derek Boogaard and goaltender Josh Harding. ... The Penguins wore their blue third jerseys for the second time. ... Fans who bring unopened new toys or make cash donations during the Penguins' toy drive at home games Saturday and Nov. 29 are eligible to win autographed team memorabilia. Items and money collected will go to the U.S. Marine Corps' "Toys for Tots" program, benefiting underprivileged Pittsburgh area families.
Shelly Anderson can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-1721.