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Notebook: Thibault injured; Chiodo recalled

| Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005

Penguins goaltender Jocelyn Thibault dropped to the ice in agony after a shot from Rico Fata during Saturday's morning skate caught him in the kneecap, but a team spokesman said X-rays revealed no broken bones.

Still, Thibault had to miss the home opener against the Boston Bruins at Mellon Arena last night. He suffered a significant bruise to the inside part of his left kneecap and will be reevaluated again today.

"I was going down in the butterfly, making a routine save, and I just caught the puck off my kneecap," he said. "It's unfortunate."

Sebastien Caron made his second start in two nights, while Andy Chiodo, 21, was recalled from the Wheeling Nailers, where he's in training camp, on an emergency basis.

Opening night celebration

The Penguins had a pre-game ceremony last night that included a video chronicling the history of the Penguins and player introductions, but that wasn't all they had lined up for fans.

Pop diva Christina Aguilera, originally from Wexford, sang the National Anthem to the surprise of fans and even some of the Penguins players, who had their backs to the singer but turned around to get a look after her introduction over the public address system.

Aguilera first sang the anthem for the Penguins when she was 11 years old.

View from the top

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman watched last night's game from team president Ken Sawyer's luxury box and said that the league is "delighted" at the fan reaction across the league, where attendance has been strong, and 11 out of 15 games on opening night were sold out.

"This was all about making it right for the fans," he said of the lockout that ultimately led to the cancellation of the 2004-05 season.

Bettman said the league only feared fans not coming back if it had tried to fix its problems with "a band-aid."

"I don't think the fans would have tolerated that," he said. "In fact, they told us overwhelmingly that they wouldn't. Which is why we did what we had to do to make it right for the game. Now, we have the right foundation."

Loose pucks

In addition to Thibault, the Penguins scratched D Rob Scuderi, D Lyle Odelein and RW Ryan VandenBussche. RW Andre Roy made his season debut. C Shane Endicott is on injured reserve. ...Mellon Arena housed a standing-room-only sellout of 17,132 for their 38th home opener last night, topping their attendance of 16,986 for the 2003-04 opener against the Los Angeles Kings.

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