Penguins' Crosby will have checkup here soon

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Penguins center and captain Sidney Crosby is expected to be re-evaluated by concussion specialist Michael Collins in the next week or so, general manager Ray Shero said Friday.

Crosby, who was on vacation in Europe, has returned to Pittsburgh. He will need clearance before he begins an offseason workout program.

Crosby was leading the NHL with 66 points in 41 games when he was diagnosed Jan. 6 with a concussion. He did not play again but recovered enough to practice with the Penguins -- minus contact -- before he began having headaches again in late April.

The team and Crosby have said they expect a full recovery in time for the 2011-12 season.

In the meantime, Shero said two of the club's impending free-agent forwards -- Mike Comrie and Alex Kovalev -- won't be re-signed.

"I'm not sure what Mike's going to do," Shero said. "He might be leaning toward retirement."

Comrie, 30, was signed as a free agent last summer. He had a strong preseason but sustained a right hip injury in the second game of the season that eventually required surgery in December. He returned to play sparingly late in the season, finishing with one goal, six points in 21 games. He did not crack the lineup in the playoffs.

Kovalev, 38, was acquired from Ottawa in March but did not flash the strong offensive flair he had in his earlier tour with the Penguins. He had two goals, seven points in 20 games, then one goal, two points in seven playoff games. None of the three goals came on the power play.

Shero said he would not rule out bringing back any of the other forwards who are eligible for unrestricted free agency if not re-signed by July 1. They are Max Talbot, Pascal Dupuis, Mike Rupp, Craig Adams, Arron Asham, Eric Godard, Chris Conner and Nick Johnson.

"We're moving along," Shero said. "We're not close to anything with anybody at this point."

Things were in place this week for a potential deal with Adams, a strong defensive forward and penalty-killer, but apparently the two sides could not agree on terms. Adams made $550,000 last season, $50,000 over the NHL minimum salary.

"We had some discussions, and I met with him one on one," Shero said. "We'd like to re-sign him, but, at this point it's not quite there. But we'd like to have him back, and he'd like to be back. Everything's very cordial."

Shero indicated that talks with Adams could resume in June, and deals with others could be completed leading up to July 1.

One thing that might work in the Penguins' favor in terms of re-signing those players is a substantial bump in the salary cap.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said recently that the cap could rise by as much as $4.1 million for next season. It was $59.4 million this season, and Daly projected it could be between $60.5 million and $63.5 million for 2011-12.

"I hope it goes up," Shero said. "If it doesn't, then we'll have to make some other decisions."

General managers will learn the cap value for next season in a few weeks.


For much more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus . Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1721.


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