Penguins Notebook: For Crosby, some contact hard to find in practice


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Turns out that getting cleared for contact doesn't necessarily mean you'll be getting any.

Center Sidney Crosby, who hasn't played since Jan. 5 because of a concussion, finally received medical permission to have teammates hit him a few days ago, but that didn't happen in his first full workout Friday at Consol Energy Center.

"A few bumps here and there, but nothing major," Crosby said.

A busy schedule of games and travel has limited the Penguins mostly to low-key practices lately, which makes it tough to simulate the game conditions for which Crosby is trying to prepare himself.

"Even typically when we practice, it's not the same physicality as you'd see in a game," Crosby said.

"But you can get close to that."

Being involved in all the drills does help in some regards, however, like sharpening his ability to react in a crowd.

"Just having to make quicker plays and react to more than one guy" in drills is a plus, he said.

"You have to worry about four other guys on the ice now, too."

There was a time when operating in traffic was extremely difficult for Crosby, but he has recovered to the point where he almost is back to a pre-injury level.

"The more comfortable you get, the more everything slows down for you," he said. "You start to see everything a little bit better.

"Obviously, it gave me some trouble there at one point.

"... It's a lot better than it was, but it can get better, as far as my timing and seeing all those things."

Fight follow-up

Right winger Arron Asham has spent a lot more time taking responsibility -- and apologizing -- for his gestures after a fight with Washington's Jay Beagle than he did making them in the first place.

After dropping Beagle with a punch in a 3-2 overtime loss Thursday night to the Capitals at Consol Energy Center, Asham gave a "washout" gesture used by boxing referees and put his head on his heads to pantomime sleeping.

After the game, Asham described his actions as "uncalled for" and "classless," and apologized to Beagle via Washington winger Mike Knuble, a onetime teammate in Philadelphia.

Asham said he "wanted to make sure the kid was all right," and that he "apologized for the stupid antics I did afterward."

Although Asham volunteered that he "woke up this morning feeling pretty stupid," he acknowledged that he was not aware Beagle was hurt when the fight ended.

"I hit him pretty solid, but I didn't know he was unconscious," Asham said.

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters Friday that Beagle has a "fat lip," but did not display any concussion-related symptoms.

Beagle, however, did not participate in Washington's practice.

Beagle might have been in worse shape if Asham had followed through with a third punch he was prepared to deliver as Beagle went down.

"I obviously want to win a fight, but I don't want to hurt someone bad," he said. "I'm glad I held him up at the end so he didn't smash his face off the ice again."

He reiterated his contention from after the game that Washington's Alex Ovechkin is a "hypocrite" for accusing Asham of being "not respectful" after once tossing his stick onto the ice and pretending to warm his hands over it after scoring a goal.

Asham confirmed that he had not heard from the league about the incident, but said he would not have balked at paying any fine NHL officials deemed appropriate for his actions, which he clearly hopes will fade from the headlines.

"I know it's wrong, what I did," he said, "but it's over and done with."

Malkin does not practice

Evgeni Malkin, who missed two games recently because of soreness at the incision site of surgery performed on his right knee last season, did not participate in practice Friday, and his status for the game tonight against Buffalo isn't clear.

"Malkin essentially was off the ice [Friday] after playing [Thursday]," coach Dan Bylsma said.

"We'll see [today] where he's at."

He added that sitting out practice was not evidence of a setback for Malkin.

Defenseman Brooks Orpik, still recovering from the effects of abdominal surgery in the offseason, did not take part in the practice, but was on the ice with conditioning coach Mike Kadar earlier in the day.


For more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus . Dave Molinari: dmolinari@post-gazette.com and Twitter @molinaripg.


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