CANONSBURG, Pa. -- Mario Lemieux, out with a strained left hip flexor muscle since Nov. 1, will miss at least three more games because the injury hasn't responded to treatment.
Lemieux tried to skate during practice with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, but left the ice after only six minutes and did
not return. Coach Eddie Olczyk said Lemieux would definitely miss
games at New York on Wednesday and at Buffalo on Friday, as well as
Saturday's home game with Florida.
Lemieux, 38, will not try to skate again for at least a week as he
tries to recover from an injury that initially wasn't thought to be
serious. The goal now is for Lemieux to be ready for a Nov. 19 home
game against Minnesota.
"He will not do anything until next Monday," Olczyk said
Monday. "That's where it's at right now."
Lemieux declined comment after skating for the first time since
a pregame skate on Nov. 4 at Toronto. He did not play that night
and has missed all but a few minutes of the last four games.
Before getting hurt, Lemieux had a goal and eight assists in 10
games and became the sixth player in NHL history to reach the
1,700-point mark. His eight-game scoring streak matches the longest
in the NHL this season.
Without Lemieux, the Penguins' power play has slipped to 29th
among the 30 teams; they've converted just 10.9 percent of its
opportunities. Lemieux's absence has also hampered the Penguins'
implementation of a new defensive system.
"He was doing so many things that, if you didn't know our team
and you didn't know much about our game, he was doing a lot of
little things," Olczyk said. "It's a big loss. We haven't had him
for the last couple games and, I don't want to say teams play
differently against us, but certainly their focus is on him when
he's on the ice."
This isn't the first time Lemieux has missed time with a hip
injury. He missed two-thirds of the 2001-02 season with recurring
right hip problems, scoring 31 points in 24 games. He played in
only one NHL game after helping lead Canada to the Olympic gold
medal in Salt Lake City, then sat out the rest of the season.
"Nobody's going to take his place," Olczyk said. "They're
going to take his ice time for a while and that's about it."