Lemieux stays home with virus while Pens travel

Updated: November 16, 2005, 4:02 PM ET
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Penguins owner-player Mario Lemieux has what the team said is a stomach virus and did not travel to Philadelphia for Wednesday night's game.

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"He's been battling something the past few days," Pittsburgh coach Eddie Olczyk said Tuesday. "He will not play. We will see how he feels Thursday."

Lemieux, who played in only 10 games in 2003-04 after undergoing hip surgery, has a lengthy history of health problems, particularly in his back and hip and a bout with Hodgkin's disease in 1992-93.

The 40-year-old Lemieux has never played a full season and has not played more than 67 games since 1996-97, the season before an initial three-plus years of retirement. Earlier this month, Lemieux was quoted as saying he wanted to dress for all 82 games this season.

He had appeared in all 19 games so far, with seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points. He is tied for second on the team in scoring behind rookie Sidney Crosby, but has not scored in six of his last nine games.

After Wednesday's game, the Penguins don't play again until a Saturday night home rematch with the Flyers.

The Penguins, who will also be without defenseman Sergei Gonchar due to a sore groin, are 138-189-42-6 without Lemieux since he entered the league in 1984.

Lemieux did not score in a 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Monday night and also was stopped by goalie Rick DiPietro as one of the Penguins' nine shooters in the shootout.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press