Crosby, Cooke out for Penguins tonight

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MONTREAL -- The Penguins aren't saying exactly why Sidney Crosby won't play in their game against Montreal tonight at the Bell Centre.

They aren't pretending that his absence won't matter, however.

"It's going to affect us in a lot of different areas," coach Dan Bylsma said. "Matchup-wise, faceoff-wise, power play-wise, he's a big part of our team."

Crosby's status for the Penguins' home game against Minnesota Saturday is not known, although Bylsma seemed optimistic that he will not be out of the lineup for an extended period.

"At this point we're making sure he's and ready and able to play when he does get back in there," he said.

Crosby, the NHL's leading scorer, returned home today because of an unspecified injury he got during the Penguins' 8-1 victory against Tampa Bay at Consol Energy Center Wednesday night.

It's not known precisely when or how Crosby was hurt, although it might well have happened when he was driven into the glass on a hard hit by Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman.

Bylsma said it "is not connected" to a blindside hit Crosby received from Washington's David Steckel at the end of the second period in the Winter Classic at Heinz Field last Saturday.

Mark Letestu will replace Crosby between Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis on the No. 1 line against the Canadiens.

Left winger Matt Cooke also will sit out tonight's game because of what Bylsma described as "personal issues" that compelled him to return to Pittsburgh.


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