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Penguins notebook: Fleury has tough first scrimmage

| Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

It was only one day and one scrimmage. But for goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, it was a day to forget.

Fleury, under scrutiny following another playoff flameout, allowed four goals on five shots during the opening scrimmage of Penguins training camp at Consol Energy Center. One of those was reminiscent of gaffes from his past as Fleury initially stopped forward Tanner Glass' shot before knocking it into his own net.

Following the workout, Fleury, who has been working with a sports psychologist this summer, didn't seem rattled.

“It was rocky in the playoffs,” Fleury said. “I'm not going to stop playing hockey because of that.”

Fleury said he appreciates that Penguins coach Dan Bylsma and general manager Ray Shero already have said that he remains the team's No. 1 goalie.

“I'll come in and try my best,” Fleury said. “I want to give us a chance to win some games.”

In top form

While Fleury struggled in Day 1 of camp, captain Sidney Crosby put on a show during the scrimmage. Crosby led Team B to a 5-0 victory against Team A. He had a goal and two assists, and his speed looked to be in midseason form.

Crosby's best play was a backhand saucer pass that right wing Pascal Dupuis one-timed past Fleury. Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Glass and Craig Adams scored for Team B.

Cooling the controversy

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin did not echo the sentiments of countryman Ilya Kovalchuk, who recently defended Russia's controversial policies about gay rights propaganda.

Malkin said that he isn't comfortable speaking on the topic in English because it isn't his primary language, but he did offer an opinion when asked if he would have a problem playing with a gay teammate.

“No,” he said. “No problem.”

Early look at lines

Although Bylsma will tinker with line combinations throughout training camp — and likely into the season — he opted to skate left wing Beau Bennett with center Evgeni Malkin and James Neal on the second unit.

Defensive combinations included Kris Letang skating with Rob Scuderi, Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin reunited and Matt Niskanen paired with Robert Bortuzzo.

Out of shape?

Conditioning has been a problem for defenseman Simon Despres in previous training camps, and he was the one player who struggled when the final practice group of the day endured “suicide” drills. Despres was skating with four other players on the drill and finished 50 feet behind the pack.

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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