Always a rink rat, Sidney Crosby couldn't stay away from Consol Energy Center.
The Penguins' injured center, team captain and NHL-leading scorer (56 points) visited his teammates Thursday, but did not work out or skate.
"He was talking with the guys in the locker room and hanging out in the training room," coach Dan Bylsma said.
"He just came in to be with the team."
Crosby lost at least two teeth and had surgery to repair a broken jaw after he was hit by a puck Saturday in a game against the New York Islanders. He was released from the hospital Monday.
"I said [before] that I saw him on Sunday and he looked pretty good," Bylsma said. "He looks a little bit better than he did Sunday. Obviously, he's still dealing with teeth issues. He looked good. Sounds a little bit different, but he talks just fine."
There is no timeline for Crosby to skate, practice or return to the lineup.
Although he faces more dental work, Crosby is not dealing with a concussion or related symptoms, his agent, Pat Brisson, confirmed. Crosby missed most of the previous two seasons with a concussion and neck injury.
"He's doing great," winger Jarome Iginla said. "He looks good."
Iginla is one of Crosby's newest teammates, acquired from Calgary last week in a trade. The former Flames captain said what Crosby has been going through has been "pretty emotional" for the club, especially when added to a 15-game winning streak that came to an abrupt end with losses this week to Buffalo and the New York Rangers by a combined score of 10-2.
"It's big, especially a freak one like that," Iginla said of Crosby's injury. "It's not just a groin pull or something like that. It was pretty intense and freakish.
"We don't want to use any excuses, but he's a huge part of this team and the leader.
"We will be better and know we have to be better, but, emotionally, it's tough to see that happen."
Different way to look at it
The Penguins can get some immediate redemption when they face the Rangers again tonight, this time at home after playing Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
"We were outcompeted dramatically the past couple of games," Iginla said. "It will be good to get a chance to get right back at them."
Bylsma has a particular way he wants his team to view the game tonight.
He has broken the lockout-shortened season into seven-game segments.
"That was Game 3 of this segment," Bylsma said. "It's Game 4 for us now. We took it pretty hard [Wednesday] in Game 3 and now we've got to get back for Game 4 against the same team.
"We're treating it like a playoff type of situation.
"We've got to rebound and get ready for Game 4, just like it's going to happen down the road in the playoffs. We're talking about it being like the playoffs, and it's against the same team. We've got them in our building for Game 4 in one we know we've got to be a lot better."
Ten Penguins participated in an optional practice: forwards Iginla, Tanner Glass, Dustin Jeffrey, Jussi Jokinen, Joe Vitale and Tyler Kennedy; defensemen Mark Eaton, Robert Bortuzzo and Simon Despres; and goalie Tomas Vokoun. Eaton missed the Wednesday game due to asthma. ... Defenseman Kris Letang (toe) skated before practice and, Bylsma said, is due to do so again today. He has missed the past four games. ... The Penguins signed defenseman Harrison Ruopp to a three-year, entry-level contract that kicks in for the 2013-14 season. Ruopp, 20, was acquired draft weekend last year in a trade that sent defenseman Zbynek Michalek back to Phoenix. In 65 games with Prince Albert of the junior Western Hockey League, Ruopp had one goal, 15 assists and a plus-minus ratio of plus-11. ... It's not known how many teeth Crosby lost, but Bylsma knocked on wood and noted he didn't lose any in his playing career. "These are all mine," he said. "For me, it was probably the injury I feared most, getting your teeth whacked out in a game."