Penguins Notebook: Crosby should play against Flyers

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Jim McIsaac, Getty Images
Sidney Crosby made it through 70 minutes of four-on-four hockey at practice yesterday.
Click photo for larger image.

PHILADELPHIA -- Sidney Crosby still doesn't care to elaborate on the finer points of that "lower-body injury" he got in a 1-0 loss Saturday night at Tampa, and he's not ready to commit -- not completely, anyway -- to being in the lineup when the Penguins meet Philadelphia at 7:08 p.m. today at the Wachovia Center.

But Crosby made it through 70 minutes of four-on-four hockey against teammates at the Lightning's practice rink in Brandon, Fla., yesterday with no apparent problem, and seems a good bet to be in uniform against the Flyers.

"I feel pretty good," he said. "I just want to make sure it's not something that's going to slow me down. Sometimes, if you don't feel that you're 100 percent, you don't make the right decisions, and things like that. I just want to make sure that's there."

Crosby is sticking to his treatment regimen of ice and anti-inflammatory medication. He said he skated because he did not want to be away from the ice for two days -- the Penguins had Sunday off -- and didn't seem to be impeded by his injury.

"It felt pretty good," he said.

Crosby, by the way, has found enough time when he wasn't taking all those dives the Flyers and their minions accused him of earlier this winter to tie for the scoring lead in the season series with Philadelphia.

He has six goals and six assists, matching the output of Flyers winger Simon Gagne. Philadelphia center Peter Forsberg has two goals and 10 assists. No other player on either team has more than five points in the seven games to date.

Morozov on market

Former Penguins winger Aleksey Morozov, the leading scorer in the Russian Super League this season, will become an unrestricted free agent in the NHL this summer.

Before Morozov decides whether he wants to return to the NHL -- or where he'd like to play there -- there are a few other matters to which he must attend. Such as trying to lead his Super League club, Ak Bars Kazan, to a title. And defusing a controversy over his apparent refusal to participate in the world championships next month in Latvia.

Morozov was left off the Russian Olympic team, and Vladimir Krukonov, the country's national team coach, said Morozov has rejected a request to play in the world tournament.

Morozov, in an interview with a Russian publication, Soviet Sport, that was translated and posted on the Russian Hockey Digest Web site, denied he has turned down such an offer, contending that "no one contacted me from the national team, even by phone."

He did acknowledge that officials of Ak Bars Kazan were approached on his behalf, and said that "before the end of the playoff I don't want to think of anything else but the Russian championship. The club's management shares my opinion."

And, perhaps more to the point, he made it clear that being left off the Olympic roster stung him.

"I don't talk about it right now ... though, of course, I was sad during the tournament," he said. "Well, it means the team didn't need me then. Good thing is that Ak Bars is pleased with my performance."

Slap shots

Philadelphia defenseman Denis Gauthier will not play tonight after being assessed a two-game suspension for a hit from behind Saturday on Toronto's Kyle Wellwood. ... Because the Penguins and St. Louis played only once this season, the head-to-head tiebreaker will not be applied if those teams finish with the same number of points. The first tiebreaker will be victories and, if needed, the second will be goal differential. ... The Penguins' ECHL minor-league team in Wheeling, W.Va., will open the first round of the playoffs Friday at Reading, then play Game 2 of the series Sunday at Wesbanco Arena.



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