Penguins Notebook: Crosby buys house not far from Lemieux's

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The Penguins will be moving en masse from Mellon Arena across the street to sparkling Consol Energy Center for the start of next season.

The team's highest-profile player also will be making a move on his own. Or, to be more precise, out on his own.

Center and captain Sidney Crosby has bought a home in the Pittsburgh area after a few years of looking for the right place. He has not yet occupied it.

Since he arrived in Pittsburgh as a rookie shortly after his 18th birthday for the start of 2005-06, Crosby, now 22, has lived during the season with the family of Mario Lemieux, the Penguins' Hall of Fame center and now co-owner. Crosby's new house is not far from the Lemieux home.

Game 7 no surprise to players

A lot of people were surprised that the series between the Penguins and Montreal Canadiens went to seven games. Players from both teams, however, insisted that nothing about the other side caught them unprepared.

"We did a lot of video," Canadiens forward Maxim Lapierre said. "We pretty much knew what they were doing.

"They're the Stanley Cup champions, and there's a reason for that. They're just a great team."

He was one of several Montreal players to volunteer how impressed they were not only by the Penguins' talent, but their fundamentally sound approach to games.

"I've been very impressed with their systems," center Dominic Moore said. "They seem to have everyone on the same page, playing really consistently, systematically. They don't give you a lot, either. They're well-coached and, obviously, they have talent, to boot."

Those sentiments were seconded by rugged winger Travis Moen.

"Definitely, they have a lot of skilled players, some of the best players in the world, but they play a great systems game," he said. "They're good defensively, they're good through the neutral zone, they stay on their routes on the forecheck. They're a very disciplined team."

Gill returns to Montreal lineup

Defenseman Hal Gill, who has drawn a lot of attention for his effectiveness in a shutdown role this postseason, returned to Montreal's lineup for Game 7.

He took the warmup for Game 6 but was a scratch because of a bad cut on the back of his left leg he got from the skate of Penguins winger Chris Kunitz in Game 5. He lasted through the morning skate and warmup Wednesday and was ready to play.

Andrei Markov, considered Montreal's top defenseman, also participated in the morning skate but was not in the lineup. He had not played or practiced with the Canadiens since he left Game 1 with a knee injury.

For the Penguins, winger Alexei Ponikarovsky was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch for two games. He replaced rookie Mark Letestu.

Another Malkin on the ice

Evgeni Malkin did a triple-take when he stepped onto the ice for the Penguins' morning skate.

He did not expect to see a ringer, especially this one.

His father, Vladimir Malkin, in street clothes and shoes, spent about 15 minutes hanging around along the boards near the player entrance as the Penguins filed onto the ice.

Vladimir, his wife, Natalia, and their other son, Denis, arrived from Russia recently for an extended visit.

Vladimir Malkin was at Mellon Arena to watch the skate and went to the player runway when forward Max Talbot was the first to head toward the ice. The two said hello, and the elder Malkin grabbed an extra stick of Talbot's and followed him onto the ice.

He set Talbot up several times, did some stick work, shot the puck off the boards or toward the net from a severe angle, then fed other players as they came on the ice.

Several smiled and got a kick out of seeing Vladimir Malkin on the ice. None was as surprised as Evgeni Malkin, who was one of the last players on the ice.

For more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at . Shelly Anderson: or 412-263-1721; Dave Molinari:


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