Penguins Notebook: Crosby might return tomorrow
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DALLAS -- Winning doesn't mean a team can't be improved. With the trade deadline Wednesday, the Penguins are looking forward to a big lift.
It doesn't have anything to do with players exchanging teams, though.
Center and captain Sidney Crosby could be back from a left groin injury tomorrow at Tampa Bay or Thursday at Florida.
"That would be a great move by [general manager] Ray Shero, if he could do that," Penguins interim coach Dan Bylsma said yesterday after his team won its third game in a row-- all without Crosby -- with a 4-1 defeat of Dallas.
Crosby had held out a fair amount of hope he would return yesterday, but an early morning solo skate convinced him he should wait.
If he returns against the Lightning, it will come one day shy of a year since he made his return from a high ankle sprain in a game at Tampa Bay.
"I felt better," he said. "Probably the last two days I've skated, I've improved and have been able to push it more. That's how it's gone.
"I really am just seeing how it reacts."
Bylsma figures things can only get better when Crosby returns. He is third in the NHL with 79 points.
"That's the great thing. We're playing well now without Sid," Bylsma said. "He's an outstanding player, and eventually we will get him back and he'll add to how we're playing and can play as a team."
Blame the weather in Atlanta.
Several Pittsburgh cable affiliates, including Comcast and Armstrong, and DirecTV lost their FSN Pittsburgh signal several times yesterday, including during the Penguins' telecast.
The cable station issued a statement apologizing for the inconvenience and explaining the cause was a phenomenon called rain fade triggered by a winter storm in Atlanta, where its Crawford Communications control facility is located.
Count defenseman Darryl Sydor among those not surprised the Penguins fired Michel Therrien and promoted Bylsma Feb. 15. Therrien made Sydor a healthy scratch for 10 of the Penguins' first 18 games before Shero granted Sydor's wish and traded him to his former team, Dallas, Nov. 16.
"The guys have a great group over there," Sydor said of the Penguins. "They've got a great thing going, but, sometimes, a change is needed, a breath of fresh air for some guys."
Sydor got that with the trade -- he has played every game since rejoining the Stars -- but his experience with the Penguins earlier this season showed him that even 36-year-old veterans can benefit from a challenge.
"You learn a lot about yourself," he said. "Nothing's ever given to you. Just because you've played 15 years in the league doesn't mean you've got a free ride to finish it off."
Several Penguins wandered the short distance down a hallway to shake Sydor's hand or chat with him before the game, and Crosby sought him out to talk afterward.
During the second period, Sydor got a not-so-warm hello when he was briefly knocked out of the game by a crushing hit in the corner by Penguins center Evgeni Malkin.
Wingers Tyler Kennedy, who left the game Friday at Chicago because of a stomach ailment, and Petr Sykora, who missed practice Saturday with an upper-body injury, were in the Penguins' lineup. ... The Penguins scratched Crosby and forward Bill Thomas. ... Goaltender Tobias Stephan was in net for the Stars after Marty Turco had started 32 consecutive games. ... Dallas scratched defenseman Andrew Hutchinson and winger Fabian Brunnstrom, and center Steve Ott sat out after he was suspended by the NHL, pending a hearing, for a receiving a match penalty for intent to injure a day earlier when he had an altercation with Anaheim's Travis Moen.
First Published March 2, 2009 12:00 am