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Lemieux to miss second straight with stomach flu

PITTSBURGH -- Mario Lemieux will miss his second consecutive
game because of a stomach virus Tuesday night when the Penguins
play the Buffalo Sabres.

He sat out Sunday's game in Tampa Bay -- a 4-1 Pittsburgh loss.
Lemieux did not practice with the team Monday, and the player-owner
was not available for comment.

Star rookie Sidney Crosby also missed practice Monday after
bruising his left foot when he blocked a shot Friday night in
Florida.

The team has said Lemieux has the same virus that caused him to miss
a game Nov. 16 in Philadelphia.

"He's feeling a little better," Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk
said. "Right now, he's day to day. I don't think we can [look] any
farther than that. But we will see how he is [Tuesday], and
hopefully he'll be feeling better."

The 40-year-old Lemieux came back after missing the game in
Philadelphia to play in the team's next three. He had one assist as
the Penguins went 1-2.

"I just know he had a stomach virus or flu symptoms last week
and sometimes those things stick with you," Olczyk said. "And
when you try to work through them and play at the level that he
expects to play at, sometimes you don't let yourself get back [to
being] completely healthy."

Already inducted into the Hall of Fame after an initial
retirement in 1997, Lemieux has a long history of health problems,
specifically his back, hip and a bout with Hodgkin's disease in
1993. He has not played more than 76 games in a season since
1996-97 and has played more than 43 only once since coming out of
retirement in middle of the 2000-01 season.

Lemieux has not had a point in 12 of 22 games this season and
has only one goal and one assist in his last seven games. Lemieux's
minus-16 rating is the second-worst on the team and only six of his
points have come at even strength. Still, Lemieux is averaging
nearly a point a game, with seven goals and 13 assists.

Crosby, the No. 1 overall draft pick, said Lemieux was growing
frustrated by the team's poor record. The Penguins were 7-11-6 and
in 13th place in the Eastern Conference entering Monday night.

Lemieux "is the same as anyone else," Crosby said. "We all
want to win."

Crosby did not have a point Sunday, but he said the foot did not
bother him much in the first and third periods. Crosby, who wore
extra padding in his skate Sunday, said the foot was healing.

"I talked with the coaches and [we decided] to take the day
off, get a little break and make sure I'm ready," he said.