Penguins notebook: Games in Los Angeles rare for Crosby


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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Sidney Crosby is one of the players who supports the NHL's latest scheduling format, which has each team playing at least once in every other city in the league each season.

Because of previous scheduling arrangements and stretches Crosby has missed because of injury, the Penguins' star center will play his just his third game against the Los Angeles Kings tonight at Staples Center, and his first since Nov. 5, 2009.

"Wow," Crosby said after the Penguins practiced Wednesday at Toyota Sports Center, the practice facility of the Kings. "I didn't realize it was that long ago. I come out here a lot in the summer, so it doesn't feel like it's been that long. I skate here, spend some time here training [in the offseason].

"I guess now that [I know] it's been a really long time, it will be good to get out there."

Crosby, who leads the NHL with 74 points in 53 games, is in his ninth NHL season.

In that 2009 game, Crosby had no points in a 5-2 loss. In his only other game at Staples Center, he had three assists Nov. 1, 2006 in a 4-3 Penguins overtime win.

Hits continue for Glass

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma described the past two games as maybe winger Tanner Glass' best this season.

In those two games, Glass had 1 goal, 1 assist, 19 hits, 3 shots and a plus-minus rating of plus-2. Usually a third- or fourth-liner, he got a few shifts on the top line with Crosby and Chris Kunitz. In a 3-0 win Monday night against Buffalo, he played 14 minutes, 46 seconds, his second-highest total this season.

Glass, 30, is a physical player who can tell when he's having an effective game because the hits are there for him on the forecheck. He long ago acquired the veteran trait of finishing his checks at every opportunity without forcing such opportunities.

"As the game's gotten faster over the years, you see guys that run around and run out of position to make hits. They don't last very long [in the NHL]," Glass said. "It's all well and good to say, 'I'm going to go out and get six hits tonight,' but you have to be in good position."

Kings back 'home' again

Because of the Grammy Awards taking over and because of an outdoor game played Saturday night at Dodgers Stadium against Anaheim, tonight will be the Kings’ first game at Staples Center since Jan. 13.

They are 2-5-1 in the interim, and now have four home games in a row.

“It’s our home ice, that home attitude that we need and we want,” center Jarret Stoll said. “We need a big homestand. We’re looking past everything that’s happened the past month. We can start with a big homestand before the [Olympic] break and go from there.”

The Grammys boot the Kings every year.

“It’s the way it is,” Stoll said. “The Lakers and Clippers [of the NBA] and us, we all deal with it. It’s LA. There’s a lot of stuff going on.

“We always know this part of our schedule will be tough every season. We haven’t dealt with it very well this year.”

Tip-ins

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang did not practice but is on the road trip. Bylsma said Letang was given a "maintenance day." ... Defenseman Brooks Orpik, who had a maintenance day Tuesday, returned to practice Wednesday. ... Center Zach Sill, struck in the wrist by a skate last weekend after being reassigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, had surgery after being evaluated in Pittsburgh. Bylsma said Sill will be out 8-12 weeks.

Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly.


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