No. 66 back on blades

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

PITTSBURGH -- Feels good. Tastes awful.

Mario Lemieux was back on the ice for the first time here yesterday since being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat.

"I had the medication changed four or five days ago," said the Pittsburgh Penguins owner and veteran star who eliminated himself from Canada's Olympic Team.

"It's good to get back," he said of his first time on the ice since Dec. 16, when he got an assist in Michel Therrien's debut as head coach.

He won't play against the Edmonton Oilers or any time in the next week or so.

"I have to get back in decent shape. This is my first time on the ice in three weeks to a month."

While he may feel good, Lemieux says there's one thing he definitely doesn't like about the medication. "My taste is changing. The taste of the food isn't the same."

Watching his team has been a bit easier to stomach lately, though, he suggests.

Lemieux says he likes the look of the team under new coach Therrien, who took over from Ed Olczyk.

"We're playing well with the system. We've been playing a lot better ever since Therrien came in with the system. We're starting to gel a little bit more."

Lemieux, who has played 26 of the 41 Penguin games so far this season, has seven goals and 22 points. Pittsburgh, with an 11-21-9 record, has 31 points in the Eastern Conference at the halfway mark of the season.

The Penguins are coming off back-to-back losses to the Atlanta Thrashers.

Sidney Crosby picked up two assists in the last game to stretch his point-scoring streak to 10 games, the longest by a rookie this season.

MINOR MOVES: On the eve of the game against the Oilers, the Penguins sent down Edmonton native Eric Christensen and called up Konstantin Koltsov from their AHL farm club in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.


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