Mario Lemieux "is not in good shape" and probably won't return to the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup on Jan. 22, Coach Bob Johnson said.

Lemieux, who was bedridden for weeks with a back infection, has been working in extra practice sessions designed to accelerate his return. He hoped to resume playing after the all-star break.

"He's not in good shape," Johnson said. "The 22nd was a pencil date. He may not be ready until February 1. He's not going to play until he's in hockey shape."

Lemieux will accompany the Penguins to Philadelphia and Toronto this week so he can continue practicing with his teammates.

Lemieux played in only one of the Penguins' final 22 games last season and hasn't played this season because of back problems. He had surgery July 11, then developed a back infection that severely restricted his physical activity.

Lemieux began a rehabilitation program on Dec. 19 and resumed practicing with his teammates last week.

Penguins assistant coach Rick Peterson estimated it will take a month of playing for Lemieux to regain all of his skills.

"I don't think he'll be 100 percent" when he returns, Peterson said.


The Los Angeles Kings recalled defenseman Dennis Smith from their American Hockey League affiliate in New Haven.


Center Jeremy Roenick of the Chicago Blackhawks, who scored nine points in three games last week, was named NHL player of the week.

Roenick had four goals and five assists and extended his point-scoring streak to six games.


Defenseman Tom Kurvers agreed to report to the Vancouver Canucks.

Kurvers balked at reporting after the trade Saturday with the Toronto Maple Leafs for center Brian Bradley.