Penguins star hopes to return in 2004-05

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Mario Lemieux has one more reason to root against a work stoppage next season.

Lemieux underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left hip Tuesday, more than two months after suffering the season-ending injury.

The procedure was performed by Dr. Marc Philippon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Lemieux is hopeful of returning for his 17th NHL season in 2004-05.

"Everything went very well, and the outlook is good," Penguins team physician Dr. Charles Burke said.

Currently sixth on the league's all-time scoring list with 1,701 points -- three ahead of Detroit's Steve Yzerman -- Lemieux appeared in just 10 games this season, recording one goal and eight assists. The 38-year-old surpassed the 1,700-point plateau Oct. 29.

Enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997, Lemieux led Pittsburgh to its only two Stanley Cup championships in 1991 and 1992, winning postseason most valuable player honors each time. The Penguins' captain and owner is a 10-time All-Star, three-time Hart Trophy winner and six-time scoring champion.

The first overall pick in 1984, Lemieux has missed significant time over his career because of back injuries and Hodgkin's disease. A similar hip ailment limited him to just 24 games in 2001-02.