Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis on Monday took another step in his return from a blood clot in his lung when he and several teammates skated for the first time at the Penguins' new practice and training facility.
"Being on the ice with teammates, and being allowed more than myself and the trainer [on the ice] here in Pittsburgh, it's a first in basically 10 months," Dupuis told the Penguins website. "It felt great to be out there."
Dupuis, who missed all but 16 games last season, was joined at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex by forwards Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, defensemen Ian Cole, Rob Scuderi, Steve Oleksy and Adam Clendening, and goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Jeff Zatkoff.
Dupuis' last game was Nov. 15. He will attempt to play this season on the blood thinner Lovenox.
"I know my conditioning is going to be there, I know my legs are going to be there and my skating is going to be there," the 36-year-old said. "It's a matter of timing for me, a matter of repetitions in every aspect of the game. Obviously, I was told for six months to stay away from everybody and to not get cut, but now that I am allowed to, I am forcing myself to get in there and create traffic and get in people's way so it becomes second nature again."
The Penguins' setup at the facility is identical to the one at Consol Energy Center.
"Guys were pretty excited about getting back here," said Crosby, who has been arranging informal on-ice workouts for players who are in Pittsburgh. "Having this place definitely adds to that, and is one that we can get comfortable in. We'll be spending a lot of time here.
"You see that they went above and beyond to make sure we were taken care of," Crosby said of the new complex. "I think as long as you can get around and [the facility] has everything you need, that's what you look for. This definitely has that."