Sidney Crosby was the first player off the ice, 20 minutes after the Penguins' morning skate started. That was the first clue the center and team captain wasn't going to play last night against Anaheim.
"I don't feel comfortable enough to play," he said afterward. "It just didn't feel good enough."
Crosby left the 6-3 loss Wednesday night to Washington with a little more than four minutes left in regulation. He apparently injured his left knee in a collision with Washington forward David Steckel.
He still considers himself out on a day-to-day basis.
"I'm going to try again [at practice today], try every day," said Crosby, who entered the night with 59 points, second in the NHL behind teammate Evgeni Malkin.
It was the first game Crosby has missed this season.
The Penguins had no healthy scratches, thanks to the fact that Crosby was one of four players who played against Washington but could not play last night.
Crosby and defenseman Kris Letang, who has an undisclosed problem, were the two who participated in the morning skate. Defenseman Rob Scuderi, whose face was still swollen after being hit there by a shot, and forward Max Talbot, who has an unspecified upper-body injury that is believed to involve his left shoulder, did not skate.
All are day to day, as is winger Pascal Dupuis, who missed his fifth game in a row because of what is believed to be a groin injury.
Dupuis skated with conditioning coach Mike Kadar early, then joined his teammates for the morning skate.
"We'll see how I feel when I wake up [today]," Dupuis said. "Hopefully, I'll play a game, or maybe two, before the [All-Star] break."
With the injuries, defensemen Mark Eaton and Philippe Boucher were back in the lineup. Eaton had been scratched the previous three games, Boucher the previous two.
"It's nothing new for us," said coach Michel Therrien, who has seen his team lose 177 man-games to injury entering the game. "We've been battling through injuries through the course of the season. We're trying to hang in there."
To fill out the lineup, the Penguins recalled Finnish winger Janne Pesonen and forward Bill Thomas, a Fox Chapel native.
Pesonen was at Mellon Arena in time for the morning skate.
Thomas was summoned from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in time for the game when it became clear so many regulars would be out.
Thomas began the season with the Penguins but played sparingly in two games with no points before being reassigned to the American Hockey League. He had five goals, 14 points in 33 games with the Baby Penguins.
For Pesonen, this is his fourth stint here this season. He also began the season with the Penguins and has been promoted three times. He had no points in six previous NHL games.
"You want to do your best like I did down there," said Pesonen, who led Wilkes-Barre with 27 assists and was third with 40 points in 34 games.
He has played more than half a season in North America and said the transition has been good.
"There aren't any surprises for me," Pesonen said. "I've gotten used to it and I like it a lot. I think it might be even easier to play on the NHL level because it's more skilled and there's more puck control."
When Crosby got hurt Wednesday, he was along the far boards from the Penguins' bench with play still live. He got up slowly and was having trouble making his way across the ice to the bench.
His teammates on the ice couldn't stop playing to help him and the team training staff couldn't come onto the ice before a whistle, but he got an assist from linesman Darren Gibbs, who took Crosby by the right arm and helped him get to the bench.
"I would have taken awhile to get over there, so I do appreciate that," Crosby said. "We got a [replacement] guy out there pretty quick."
Shelly Anderson can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-1721.