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LEMIEUX PRACTICES, EXPECTS TO PLAY FRIDAY

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

Mario Lemieux continued his rapid comeback from atrial fibrillation.

Exactly one week after he was discharged from a Pittsburgh-area hospital for observation of an irregular hearthbeat, Lemieux returned to practice with his Penguins teammates.

Lemieux, who had practiced on his own on the ice Tuesday and Wednesday, expects to be in the lineup when the Penguins welcome the Sabres on Friday at 7 p.m.

"I feel pretty good," he said. "I will be playing [Friday]. I am anxious to get back on the ice and try to help this team."

New Penguins head coach Michel Therrien said he plans to start Lemieux on the left wing on a line with Sidney Crosby at center and Ziggy Palffy on the right wing.

Lemieux, who was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation last week and put on medication, gained medical clearance Monday to resume activity. He worked out off the ice Monday.

Thursday was the first time Lemieux spoke to the media since Saturday when cited the atrial fibrillation, which had been plaguing him since the summer, as one of the reasons he chose to withdraw his name from Team Canada’s roster for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.

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