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Wild offseason for Marc-Andre Fleury

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By Dejan Kovacevic
Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011

Marc-Andre Fleury hails from the quiet, usually cold Quebec town of Sorel-Tracy, so his summer vacation must have made for quite the culture shock.

"I went to Africa," the Penguins' goaltender playfully beamed after practice Saturday at Consol Energy Center.

Fleury and his fiancee flew to South Africa -- they started in Cape Town -- then went on a safari in the northern part of the country on one of its many wildlife reserves. They were driven through the reserve and, as he described it, saw some remarkable sights: Two lions attacked a hippopotamus. An elephant was knocking down a tree.

"It's something we both talked about doing, and we're really glad we did," Fleury said. "It's a great experience, something you'll never forget."

Especially watching those lions in action.

"It was amazing, to be so close to that, to see that for yourself," he said.

Their vehicle had no roof or windows, unlike many on African safaris, but Fleury could not recall feeling threatened.

"The animals know the jeep, and they stay away," Fleury said. "Besides, the guy with us had a really big gun."

An early glimpse

Drawing conclusions from the first scrimmage of training camp usually isn't productive, but even coach Dan Bylsma admitted being impressed with a line combination.

The trio of Evgeni Malkin, Tyler Kennedy and Steve Sullivan led Team B to a 5-1 victory over Team Black. Kennedy scored twice, and Sullivan added a goal.

Malkin, meanwhile, produced a couple of assists, scored on a penalty shot and skated fluidly, showing no signs of February's ACL surgery.

"It's tough not to notice Tyler Kennedy, Malkin and Sullivan together," Bylsma said.

Malkin enjoyed playing with Kennedy and Sullivan.

"I like it," Malkin said. "It's two small guys, but they work hard and skate hard."

What a crowd

Several thousand Penguins fans watched for more than four hours, as three groups practiced at Consol Energy Center. The crowd showered each player who took the ice with affection and delivered a standing ovation to Sidney Crosby that lasted more than a minute.

"I think it says a lot about our fans," Crosby said.

Practice is open to the public again starting at 9 a.m. today.


"I see a chance for a hit, and I'm like, 'Whoa, that's Malkin!"

-- Steve McIntyre, the Penguins' new 6-foot-5, 250-pound left winger, on scrimmaging against star players

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