Crosby joins Despres and Staal on ice
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Sidney Crosby skated with a couple of injured teammates Monday afternoon at Consol Energy Center.
When he's on the ice there in a game might hinge on the findings of what coach Dan Bylsma described as an "independent physician" who is evaluating Crosby's medical situation, including a newly discovered neck injury.
Bylsma said that, as of Monday evening, the team had not received that report and that "until that time, there won't be an update on his condition"
A news release issued by the team Saturday night said that Crosby's neck injury was "fully healed," and presumably his follow-up examination did not detect anything that would have compelled him to stay off the ice.
He skated with teammates Jordan Staal and Simon Despres , both of whom are recovering from knee injuries, conditioning coach Mike Kadar and video coordinator Jim Britt , who tended goal.
Crosby did not speak with reporters, but Bylsma said he "was pretty excited about being on the ice and back with some of his teammates" and "going at a fair clip."
Crosby skated for about 45 minutes -- Staal and Despres left after about 30 -- and did some of his most strenuous work during the final 15.
"There's not a heart rate monitor on him, but I'm sure it got up there a little bit," Bylsma said.
Bylsma also downplayed suggestions that Crosby is angry with the team's medical personnel for failing to detect a problem in his neck.
"At this point, I know I feel, Sidney feels, that he's gotten every possible support from the Penguins [and] the Penguins medical staff," Bylsma said.
He also said that Despres is "much closer to practicing" with the team than Staal is, but that he is "still comfortable" with the initial prognosis that Staal will be out four to six weeks.
Barring further injuries, Despres likely will be returned to the Penguins American Hockey League team in Wilkes-Barre, in part because he does not have to clear waivers to go down.
All 20 healthy players on the major league roster participated in Monday's practice, but the makeup of the group was a bit unusual.
In addition to goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Brent Johnson , there were 11 forwards and seven defensemen.
Teams generally dress 12 and six, so it seems likely the Penguins will recall a winger from Wilkes-Barre before they play Toronto tonight at Consol Energy Center.
Defenseman Paul Martin has one goal in his past 91 games -- that drought comes in the wake of a two-goal (both unassisted and on the power play) performance Dec. 4, 2010, in Columbus -- and has just four in 119 games since joining the Penguins.
Despite all that, it still is striking to realize that he does not have a goal in the 57 home games he has played since joining the Penguins as a free agent in July 2010.
If a winner hasn't been determined after 65 minutes of tonight's game, here's a stat worth remembering:
Fleury is on a 10-for-10 roll when he has a chance to clinch a shootout victory on home ice by making a save.
He did it twice in the span of a few days earlier this month, denying Eric Staal of Carolina Jan. 17 and Montreal's Scott Gomez Jan. 20 to secure a second point for the Penguins.
Right winger Arron Asham , who the team says has "concussion-like symptoms" did not skate with the injured players or practice Monday. ... Right winger James Neal 's next goal will be his 28th, a career high. ... Ron Wilson of the Maple Leafs will be coaching his 1,387th game tonight, moving him past Mike Keenan and into sole possession of fifth place on the NHL's all-time list.
First Published January 31, 2012 12:00 am