Penguins notebook: Close calls for Crosby


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Sidney Crosby has one of the most recognized faces in the NHL and in Pittsburgh. Lately, it has taken a beating.

Already sporting a lower lip that resembled raw hamburger from being elbowed in practice earlier in the week, the Penguins center and captain got dinged in that area early in a 4-3 shootout preseason win Thursday night in Chicago. In overtime, he got hit in the neck by the stick of the Blackhawks' Adam Clendening.

"Hopefully I'm just getting them out of the way in the preseason," said Crosby, who was smiling.

"He had a couple of scares," coach Dan Bylsma said. "You like to see him get up and skate away."

Crosby last spring missed the final 12 games of the regular season plus the team's first playoff game after a deflected puck broke his jaw, requiring surgery. He also previously missed long stretches of games over a couple of seasons because of a concussion and neck injury.

So while Crosby getting hit up high can be a hold-your-breath moment, Bylsma was able to poke just a little fun at his star player after seeing that all was OK.

"He had a mark from practice the other day, and I think he was picking the scab [to make it bleed], trying to get a five-minute major on the high stick [in overtime]," Bylsma said.

Fleury in net

Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start in goal today and play the full game when Columbus visits Consol Energy Center.

The rest of the lineup includes defensemen Olli Maatta, Rob Scuderi, Paul Martin, Robert Bortuzzo, Brooks Orpik and Kris Letang; and forwards Pascal Dupuis, Chuck Kobasew, Tanner Glass, Brandon Sutter, Dustin Jeffrey, James Neal, Matt D'Agostini, Chris Conner, Craig Adams, Jussi Jokinen, Zach Sill, Harry Zolnierczyk and Evgeni Malkin.

The game is the annual "free kids game." The Penguins distributed tickets to around 18,000 children through youth and amateur hockey associations.

It will be televised locally by Root Sports and nationally by NHL Network.

The Penguins are 1-1-1 halfway through their preseason schedule.

Kobasew has a shot

Although the odds are stacked against any player who tries to earn a contract by attending an NHL camp on a tryout, Kobasew's performance through the first week-plus of the preseason suggests the veteran still can be a significant contributor.

His showing is particularly impressive because, under the circumstances, he is compelled to make a quick, favorable impression on management while adapting to new co-workers and strategies.

"Definitely, there's a lot going on," Kobasew said. "New teammates, new systems ... but it's an opportunity.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity here in Pittsburgh. It's a great organization, and I'm trying to make the most of it."

Friendly fathers

Glass and D'Agostini sit next to each other in the locker room at Consol Energy Center. They have a lot to talk about these days beyond hockey.

Glass became a first-time father Sept. 7, when son Sawyer was born. D'Agostini welcomed son Lucca on Monday.

Glass and his wife, Emily, have found a modern way to keep dad caught up. They found an app that allows Glass to watch video glimpses of his son from throughout the day and night -- including any wee-hours activities, which Emily lets her husband sleep through.

Tip-ins

The team had the day off Friday. ... Goaltender Eric Hartzell, entering his first pro season, was reassigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. ... The Penguins outhit Chicago, 43-15, something Crosby -- who was credited with three hits -- said was a response to a less-than-stellar performance Monday against Detroit. Beau Bennett led with seven hits. ... Tyler Murovich of Mt. Lebanon, who signed with Orlando of the ECHL for this season, will get a tryout with Boston's AHL affiliate in Providence, R.I. Murovich is a former teammate of another Mt. Lebanon native, Matt Bartkowski, who is a defenseman with the Bruins.

penguins

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, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly. Dave Molinari: dmolinari@post-gazette.com and Twitter @MolinariPG. First Published September 21, 2013 4:00 AM


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