Lemieux Skates Pain-Free

Archived from 2002-03 season.

NHL teams

After resting almost six months with a hip injury, Mario Lemieux is skating again without pain.

Lemieux skated for 45 minutes on Tuesday and then had a one-hour session with his on-ice trainer and former teammate Jay Caufield on Wednesday.

"I felt strong," he said Tuesday.

Lemieux, the Pittsburgh Penguins owner-player who turns 37 in October, missed 58 games last season because of tendinitis and inflammation in the hip, which required surgery in October.

He missed the final seven weeks of the NHL season after helping lead Canada to an Olympic gold medal.

Caufield, who did not except Lemieux to begin training until next week, believes Lemieux is making a strong recovery.

"I heard that sound in his skating," Caufield said. "It's hard to explain. It's the blade cutting through the ice making a certain sound where you know it's a powerful stride. A hockey player would know what I was talking about. It's the sound you want to hear."

The Penguins are hoping a healthy Lemieux will get them back into the playoffs. One year after reaching the Eastern Conference finals in Lemieux's comeback season, the Penguins sat out the postseason last spring for the first time in 12 years.

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