Penguins notebook: Lemieux charity race draws Bylsma, others


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Dan Bylsma lined up alongside nearly 5,000 others to run in the Penguins 6.6K race Sunday morning. He wore bib No. 3,216.

The Penguins coach is a regular runner, but rarely times himself. He didn't catch his time for the race.

"I didn't see where the timer was when I was going across the line," he said. "I just heard Dan Potash [of Root Sports] yelling in my ear."

It turns out Bylsma ran the 6.6 kilometers, or 4.1 miles, in 32 minutes, 34 seconds. Penguins assistant general manager Jason Botterill finished in 34:39. Assistant coach Tony Granato ran, but he had registered as a walker so his time was not recorded.

The men's winner was Josh Simpson, 28, of Morgantown, W.Va., in 20:33. The women's winner was Erin Kling, 22, of Pittsburgh, in 25:12. Proceeds benefit the Penguins Foundation and the Mario Lemieux Foundation.

"I don't know what I expected the turnout to be, but to have around 5,000 runners and to run the race, I thought it was pretty amazing," said Bylsma, who afterward was on the ice at Consol Energy Center to run practice. "I did everything I could not to sprint out of the gate. It almost inspires me to maybe try the half marathon, but I'm not going to go too far."

Race participants and volunteers were invited into the arena to watch practice.

Kunitz's comparison

They're considered pretty much the same thing, an in-game penalty shot and a shootout attempt, both pitting one skater against a goaltender with no other players on the ice.

Chris Kunitz thinks there are a couple of differences.

The Penguins winger scored on a penalty shot Saturday in the third period of a 4-1 win against Buffalo by deking at the last second and shooting the puck off the body of Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth.

Kunitz was awarded the penalty shot when he got hauled down near the net on a breakaway, and that underscores one of the differences, he said. Before a shootout, while the center of the ice is being resurfaced, players are on the bench, getting a breather and a chance to double-check their sticks and skates.

"During the game, you don't have that break in between," Kunitz said. "You're a little winded because you must have been on a breakaway to get the penalty shot. So you take your time. I tried to take as much time as I could before they started it."

It could've been worse

Winger Dustin Jeffrey said he knew he had a problem with his lower teeth after he fell and hit what appeared to be the back of linemate Chuck Kobasew's skate in the win against Buffalo.

"It wasn't as bad as I first thought," Jeffrey said. "There are little chips."

Jeffrey left the game only briefly, and he participated as normal Sunday in practice. He said he will have a little dental work, getting those chipped areas smoothed out.

Common bonds

It would seem like a nice fit. Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and new team assistant Jacques Martin are French-Canadian, and Martin is a former goalie.

Not that Martin would undermine Fleury's relationship with Mike Bales, who is in his first season as the Penguins goaltending coach, but it would seem logical that Martin and Fleury would broach their common ground.

Or maybe not.

"We've talked, but not really about the goalie position," Fleury said recently.

Fleury's previous position coach, Gilles Meloche, also was French-Canadian, and the two usually spoke their native language.

"It's just easy, comfortable," Fleury said.

Bales is not French, but Fleury's English is fine.

"We get along great," Fleury said. "The communication is great. There's not an issue there."

Fleury figures if he gets around to having a goaltending conversation with Martin, it will be to get a historical perspective.

"It might be interesting to see what it was like when he played," Fleury said.

Tip-ins

Defenseman Kris Letang, who is believed to have a knee injury, and winger Matt D'Agostini, who has an unspecified injury, skated before practice. Letang could get back to practice soon and D'Agostini is on course to return to practice next week. ... Center Sidney Crosby took a career-high 41 faceoffs Saturday. He won 24 (59 percent). "The whistles. All the whistles," he said. "It has nothing to do with having a hot hand. It was just one of those games where there were a lot of whistles, you get a lot of faceoffs and I ended up taking some. I didn't realize it was that many. There were just so many stoppages." ... The Penguins have a scheduled day off today.

penguins

Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly. First Published October 7, 2013 4:00 AM


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