Penguins Notebook: Fleury still struggling with undisclosed ailment
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Penguins No. 1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has not been able to get through a skating workout on his own and does not appear on the verge of returning from an undisclosed injury.
Fleury has missed the past four games after he got an apparent lower-body injury Nov. 15 late in a 5-2 win against Buffalo.
Because he hasn't returned to practice, it seems doubtful he will be ready to play in the next few days. The Penguins have three games in four nights this week, beginning tonight with a road game against the New York Islanders.
"He's day to day. That's what they told me," coach Michel Therrien said.
Backup Dany Sabourin has gone 1-1-1 with five goals allowed in three starts in Fleury's absence and now has enough appearances to be included in the league statistics. Through yesterday, he had the NHL's best goals-against average, 1.66, and the third-best save percentage, .935. He is 4-2-1 overall this season.
When Fleury missed almost three months last season because of a high ankle sprain, Sabourin was beaten out by No. 3 goaltender Ty Conklin, who became a free agent last summer and signed with Detroit while Sabourin remained.
"He's been really, really good," Therrien said of Sabourin. "We have a lot of confidence in that kid. We had to make some hard decisions over the summer because we had Conklin, who played really well for us last year. We've got Sabourin, who was still under contract with us, but we had confidence in him."
Because of scheduling, yesterday was the second time defenseman Ryan Whitney got to practice with the team. He first joined them Friday, more than three months after undergoing foot surgery.
Not only did Whitney take part in the hour-long team session, but he also worked with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar for an hour earlier.
"It was kind of a long day, but I feel good," Whitney said.
Whitney is a fan of many sports and is extremely loyal to his hometown Boston teams, although he has developed an interest in the local teams.
That puts him in an awkward position this week. The Steelers play the New England Patriots Sunday in Foxborough, Mass.
"I wish it was here," Whitney said. "I root for the Steelers most of the time. This is different."
Others besides Sabourin who led the NHL one-quarter of the way into the season are center Evgeni Malkin, who through yesterday was first with 31 points, 24 assists and 15 power-play points; center Mike Zigomanis, who was first in faceoff proficiency at 65 percent; and Alex Goligoski, who led all rookie defensemen with 10 points. ... With a day off Sunday and no game last night or tonight, the main, structured part of practice lasted an hour, not counting the 20 minutes spent beforehand on the power play. A handful of players stayed on the ice another 40 minutes, and all continued with an off-ice workout. ... After practice, players Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang and Eric Godard distributed frozen turkeys and holiday meal ingredients to underprivileged families in conjunction with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
First Published November 25, 2008 12:00 am