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Penguins Report: Monday, Oct. 13

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
> Pittsburgh went through a rigorous practice session, as head coach Michel Therrien had the team skate various sprints, including the length of the ice, the width of the ice and to the far blue line and back.

“Everybody’s feeling it, especially in the legs,” goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. “That’s a good workout and that how we have to play. We have to play hard no matter what the system is. The main thing is to go out and work hard.”

Therrien also had players battle each other for loose pucks along the boards.

“Those are the details of the game,” he said. “It sends a message to the players. That’s unacceptable to lose too many battles. You’re not going to win all the battles. We’re in the NHL. We understand that we play against good hockey teams, experienced hockey teams but I’m expecting a better percentage of winning battles.”

> Forward Petr Sykora skated for the third consecutive day after missing nearly two weeks of practice. Though he’s made progress, his status is still unknown for Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

“I’m assuming we’re going to make a decision tomorrow,” Therrien said. “If he’s OK to play, he’ll play. We’ll see tomorrow.”

Sykora missed nearly two weeks of practice with a groin injury and a bout of illness. The lack of work and exercise has affected his conditioning.

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Sykora skated on Sunday with head athletic trainer Chris Stewart and strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar, even though the Penguins didn’t hold a practice. Sykora skated various drills and took shots on goalkeeper Dany Sabourin.

“My conditioning is not where I want it to be but I think with my game I can get away with it,” Sykora said. “I can play smart and in good position. I can really be on the strong side of the puck all the time and not make stupid mistakes where I’ll put myself in a position where I’ll have to skate more, just play smart hockey.”

Sykora’s scoring touch will be a welcomed addition to the Penguins. He recorded 28 goals last season, his first in Pittsburgh. In two preseason games this year he tallied three goals, all on the power play.

“It’ll be great,” Sidney Crosby said of Sykora’s return. “He’s a goal scorer. I’m not sure what the power play plans would be with him but he’s going to help us. He looked pretty good the last couple of days. Hopefully he’s in the lineup.”

Sykora added:

“If I play tomorrow I’m sure I’ll get a couple of scoring chances and hopefully the puck is going to go in.”

> Therrien altered his top line in Saturday’s match-up with New Jersey. He swapped out Ruslan Fedotenko with Pascal Dupuis. Dupuis skated on Crosby’s line last year with Marian Hossa, after the two were acquired from Atlanta. Dupuis started training camp alongside Crosby but was switched with Fedotenko towards the end of the preseason.

“We talked about it yesterday with the coaching staff,” Therrien said of the line combinations. “We’re going to talk about it again today to make sure that we come up with a good combination that will help us win hockey games.”

> Therrien on Sidney Crosby:

“He’s a proud athlete. He plays with a lot of pride. He wants to be the best. I’m sure thet he’ll find a way to get there. He’ll find a way because he’s got a lot of pride.”

> Veteran defenseman Darryl Sydor was late to practice. He was at the doctors with his pregnant wife, Sharlene.


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