Penguins Notebook: Crosby returns to full practice

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A yellow jersey hung back in a corner of the Penguins' locker room at Southpointe yesterday. Center and captain Sidney Crosby didn't need it anymore.

He joined practice without the non-contact look. It was another move forward in his recovery from a high ankle sprain.

"[It was] kind of a step to see how it went," said Crosby, who got hurt Jan. 18.

"It went pretty good. It's still something we've got to work through a bit."

Crosby, who skated hard by himself Friday while the team was off, did the same with his teammates and participated in all the drills. Team physician Charles Burke watched Crosby through the workout.

Scouting report
  • Matchup: Penguins at Buffalo Sabres, 6:08 p.m., HSBC Arena, Buffalo, N.Y.
  • TV, radio: FSN Pittsburgh, WXDX-FM (105.9).
  • Probable goaltenders: Ty Conklin for Penguins. Ryan Miller for Sabres.
  • Penguins: Are 2-0 vs. Sabres. ... D Sergei Gonchar and F Evgeni Malkin were tied for NHL lead with 31 power-play points before yesterday. ... Malkin has seven-game points streak (6 goals, 11 assists).
  • Sabres: Are 5-2-3 in past 10 home games. ... Were in top four at home in power play (24.8 percent) and penalty killing (87.5 percent) before yesterday. ... RW Jason Pominville has 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) in past 10 games.
  • Hidden stat: Buffalo LW Daniel Paille averages just 1.2 shots a game, but ranks fourth in NHL with 19.6 shooting percent.

"He looked really good," coach Michel Therrien said.

At one point, Crosby and defenseman Kris Letang got tangled and fell to the ice. They slid past the net and into the boards, but not heavily.

"That same play the next time could be the one where you get hurt, so you don't want to get too far ahead of yourself, and that's the way I've approached it," Crosby said.

He began skating about two weeks ago and joined the team for practices in a limited capacity nine days ago. There has been no update to his prognosis, which means he's not expected back until at least the end of the month.

"At this point, you don't really see much change," Crosby said of the injury, which involves ligaments. "There's not much you can do as far as improving it besides waiting."

Christensen remains out

Penguins forward Erik Christensen did not practice yesterday, won't play tonight at Buffalo and Therrien said "it would be a surprise" if he plays Tuesday against Florida.

The good news for the club with a long list of long-term injuries is that the right shoulder injury Christensen got Wednesday when he was knocked into the boards by Boston behemoth Zdeno Chara is not serious. He is listed as being out day-to-day.

Taffe expects to play

Forward Jeff Taffe, who left the 4-2 loss Thursday at Carolina in the second period because of a broken nose, practiced and expects to be available tonight in Buffalo.

He said doctors were mostly concerned about a concussion after he took a blow to the head from Hurricanes defenseman Joey Mormina.

"I passed all those tests with flying colors," he said.

Taffe, who has had a broken nose a couple times before, doesn't expect to wear any extra protective equipment tonight.

Slap shots

Even though as late as yesterday afternoon there was no local television listing for tonight on the Penguins' or the NHL's Web sites, the game will be shown on FSN Pittsburgh. ... Penguins forward Tyler Kennedy, who played against Carolina after a short minor-league stint, said he feels recovered from mononucleosis. "I just want to keep getting better every game," he said. ... The Penguins' third Hockey 'n Heels program will be March 20 and include dinner and tickets to the game against Tampa Bay. Author Shawna Richer is the guest speaker, and members of the Pittsburgh Piranhas women's team will be there. Tickets, for females only, are $130. Visit ... The Penguins' first Skates & Plates gala, set March 13 at the Carnegie Music Hall with the players serving as waiters to benefit the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis, is sold out.


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