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Sykora still out, Kennedy au natural

by Shawn P. Roarke
STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Petr Sykora missed his second straight day of practice Monday as the rest of the team went through a grueling 90-minute workout.

Sykora has a sore throat. He is expected to skate on his own Tuesday while the rest of the team enjoys a day away from the rink, according to team officials. Sykora is expected to be good to go by the weekend.

Center of attention -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are trying to move youngster Tyler Kennedy back to his natural position of center. Kennedy played the wing most of the time last season because of the team's glut at center.

Now, with Jordan Staal being moved onto the wing, Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien is hoping Kennedy smoothly can transition back to the position he played throughout his junior career in Sault Ste. Marie.

"There's a spot open at center," Therrien said. "We're working on him to be a versatile player because we go through a lot during the season -- injuries and stuff."

Therrien has liked the confidence Kennedy has shown so far in training camp and said he is a different player from the rookie that struggled at times last season.

Shoot first -- Speaking of centers, teams better watch out for a new wrinkle in Sidney Crosby's game.

The slick passer is looking to shoot more this season. Crosby averaged a little more than 3 shots per game last season -- taking 173 shots in 53 regular-season games. Those totals are pretty consistent with the shot efforts he put up in his first two seasons in the League.

He plans to top those numbers this time around.

"I want to keep opponents guessing," Crosby said. "It seems my first option is always to pass. To make that option better, it is probably good to shoot a bit more."
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