Thursday marked the one-year countdown to the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. If anyone would be expected to be looking forward to that, it would be Sidney Crosby.
The Penguins center scored the overtime goal against the United States that gave host Canada a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
During recent lockout negotiations, the NHL did not resolve whether to let its players continue to play in the Olympics. Talks about that could begin soon.
"I had a great experience," Crosby said after the team's morning skate at Consol Energy Center in advance of the home game against the Washington Capitals.
"I think everyone in the hockey world enjoys that -- cheer on your country and see some great hockey. To be part of that whole experience -- not only the hockey, but seeing all the other sports, being able to go through that -- I think anyone who's been there would love to be a part of it again.
"Hopefully, we can all find a way to make it work."
Crosby stopped short of outright vowing to go to Sochi. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin and Washington winger Alex Ovechkin have said they plan to play for host Russia, their homeland.
Ovechkin indicated he has already gotten permission from Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, "so I feel pretty good about it."
But Ovechkin figures it's mostly an issue for the few countries that supply the most players to the NHL.
"To be honest with you, it's only Russia, Canada and the U.S.," he said.
"If Canadians want to go, it's their choice.
"But I think all the Russian guys are going to be there. We're going to represent our country in our country."
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said he's not sure how much the league benefits from shutting down for the better part of a month and, when it's on the other side of the world, having games that are difficult to watch live in North America because of the time difference.
Puck in nose no big deal
Crosby, who took a puck to the nose Tuesday night, did not have a black eye or anything more than some swelling and scabbing.
He said his breathing was affected "a little bit, but nothing that's going to affect anything. Kind of just a pain. Nothing that's a big deal."
Reese where he wants to be
Dylan Reese will tell you he was a child of the early 1990s, specifically when the Penguins won their first two Stanley Cups.
So the defenseman from Upper St. Clair was thrilled Wednesday to be promoted from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League to the Penguins. He was in the lineup against the Capitals because Kris Letang sat out with an undisclosed problem.
"This is what I wanted from the beginning of the year," Reese said. "I worked hard this year, and the team in Wilkes-Barre has been playing well. The opportunity has presented itself. I'm just happy to get back [to the NHL] and do what I can."
Reese, who played in 74 games with the New York Islanders, signed with the Penguins as a free agent last summer. He was not one of the nine defensemen who started training camp with the Penguins last month or one of the eight with the team when the season started a week later.
"I was disappointed," Reese said. "I wanted an opportunity, but it was a strange situation with the lockout and the way camp worked out. I'm not the only guy that was in kind of a strange situation."
Good move for Lovejoy
Reese was summoned Wednesday night after the Penguins traded lightly used defenseman Ben Lovejoy to Anaheim. Coach Dan Bylsma pointed out that between the Penguins and Wilkes-Barre, he coached Lovejoy for six years.
"Ben found himself this year in an eight-defenseman situation, and maybe even more than that with the depth we have in this organization on defense," Bylsma said.
"Ben's going to get an opportunity to play some more and be a regular in the [Ducks] lineup."
Defenseman Derrick Pouliot, selected eighth overall by the Penguins in the 2012 draft and playing junior hockey for Portland, visited the team for a day to have a nagging injury evaluated. He also attended meetings and watched game-day activities. ... Capitals defenseman John Erskine served the third and final game of an NHL suspension for an elbow to the head of Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds. ... In addition to Letang, the Penguins scratched forwards Dustin Jeffrey and Eric Tangradi.mobilehome - penguins
For more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Shelly Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @pgshelly. First Published February 8, 2013 5:00 AM