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At the Rink blog

With Malkin out, Letestu remains on top line

Tuesday, 10.11.2011 / 12:38 PM

By Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
With Malkin out, Letestu remains on top line
With center Evgeni Malkin (lower body) out for the Penguins' home opener Tuesday night against Florida, Mark Letestu again moved into his spot on a line with Steve Sullivan at left wing and James Neal at right wing. That could very well be one of the Penguins' lines once Sidney Crosby returns from his concussion.
 
Crosby took part in the Penguins' morning skate, as he did during their three-game road trip to Western Canada, but again wore a white helmet signifying he cannot be hit. He said he is closer to being cleared for contact, but that he is not certain when he will get the go-ahead to take part in all aspects of practice.
 
The Penguins' other line combinations were: Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy; Matt Cooke - Joe Vitale - Pascal Dupuis; and Arron Asham - Richard Park - Craig Adams. The defensive pairs were Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek, Kris Letang - Deryk Engelland and Ben Lovejoy - Matt Niskanen. Marc-Andre Fleury will be in goal.

The Panthers, coming off a 2-0 victory over the Islanders on Saturday, are something of an unknown quantity to the Penguins given all of their roster changes since last season. Among the additions were Jose Theodore, Brian Campbell, Tomas Fleischmann, Scottie Upshall and Kris Versteeg, plus coach Kevin Dineen.

"It's a lot of new players, a new coach, a new goalie, a lot of different things," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "The similarities, the things we know about them are from people from other teams. I coached against their coach in the minor leagues. Their goalie (Theodore) we've seen at different spots. (There's a) familiarity with some of the players and the parts, but not necessarily the team."
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He stuck his neck out there for us. I don't know what's wrong with him, but you see he was in pain. But he went back in there. He's a tough guy. You've got to give him credit for helping the boys out.

— Panthers forward Brandon Pirri on goalie Roberto Luongo, who returned to game on Tuesday against Maple Leafs after leaving earlier in the contest with an injury
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