Penguins center and captain Sidney Crosby has a doctor's appointment today that could determine whether he is ready to return to the lineup for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
After practicing with the team Monday at Southpointe, he wasn't feeling optimistic or pessimistic about getting clearance to play Wednesday against the New York Islanders in the series opener.
"I try not to have any [expectations]," said Crosby, who has been out since a deflected puck March 30 left him with a broken jaw and several missing teeth.
"I'm just going for an appointment, see what happens. I don't have any control over it, so there's no point in getting too worked up about it."
The major question apparently involves whether surgically implanted screws have set securely in the jaw.
"I'm not sure exactly [what the appointment will entail], but I'm sure they'll take a peek and see how everything's healing," Crosby said, adding that he feels good.
Crosby was leading the league in scoring by a wide margin and his 56 points in 36 games was still good enough to finish in a tie for third with Washington's Alex Ovechkin.
Crosby skated at practice on a fifth, or spare, line with Joe Vitale and Dustin Jeffrey.
Vitale, who missed the final four games of the regular season because of an undisclosed injury, returned to practice. He had been skating apart from his teammates.
Defenseman Brooks Orpik, who missed the final two regular-season games because of an unspecified injury, skated before practice.
No line disclosures
It's a sure sign that the playoffs have arrived when coaches begin zipping their lips. That's the case with the Penguins' Dan Bylsma, who was asked about forward line combinations in the playoffs, how they might change and what might happen depending on whether Crosby is in the lineup.
"I have talked about some [of those] things in the past couple of months," he said. "I am currently not going to talk about those things, in terms of what our thoughts are for the lines, lineup, what it might be for Game 1, Game 2."
The Penguins finished the regular season first in the Eastern Conference and second overall with a record of 36-12 and 72 points.
Here are a few other season statistics of note:
• Their power play ranked second at 24.7 percent. It was third at home (26.2 percent) and third on the road (23.3 percent).
• Their penalty-killing was 25th at 79.6 percent, including 13th at home (85.5 percent) and 25th on the road (75.5 percent).
• They scored two short-handed goals and gave up three.
• Besides Crosby, Chris Kunitz finished seventh in the league in scoring with 53 points and Kris Letang finished tied for first among defensemen with 38 points. Crosby was second with 41 assists.
• Kunitz and James Neal tied with others for third with nine power-play goals.
• Neal tied for second with six game-winning goals.
• Pascal Dupuis led the NHL with a plus-minus ratio of plus-31. Kunitz was second at plus-30, and Crosby was fourth at plus-26.
• Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury's 23 wins ranked in a tie for fourth.
• The team ranked 19th with an average of 11.4 penalty minutes per game.
As in past years, the Penguins will have a big outdoor screen for fans to watch playoff games. It will be set up at the corner of Centre Avenue and Mario Lemieux Place near Consol Energy Center.
It will be in use for all of the team's first-round games. The screen area and an adjacent fan zone will open four hours before each home game, two hours before each road game.
Goaltender John Gibson of Whitehall was one of five players added to the Team USA roster for the upcoming IIHF world championships, which begin Friday in Sweden and Finland. Gibson is an Anaheim Ducks prospect.
Gibson was a key figure in the United States winning the gold medal at the 2013 world junior championships.mobilehome - penguins