Penguins Notebook: Crosby skating 'light' regimen
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Sidney Crosby is back on the ice, but that doesn't mean he's close to rejoining the Penguins' lineup.
Crosby, who will miss his 10th game in a row because of a concussion when the Penguins visit the New York Rangers at 7:38 p.m. today, has skated during the past few days, but only within the parameters of what coach Dan Bylsma described as a "very light" rehabilitation regimen.
"He's been on the ice, but literally, it's in track pants, [going] up and down the ice, not in a workout-type mode," Bylsma said Monday.
Crosby got medical clearance to begin less-than-strenuous physical activity late last week and, apparently, has not experienced any significant setbacks.
His exertion level, however, has been much lower than usual.
"Light rehab is very light exercise," Bylsma said. "Moderate, very moderate, biking activity. It's very light activity, and that's part of what the doctors have prescribed as his functional rehab at this point.
"Again, progressing to the next level means he has to get better in certain areas, and he's going through that process right now."
Crosby must be able to make it through each phase of his rehabilitation process without experiencing any concussion-type symptoms, such as headaches, before getting clearance to move on to the next.
There is no target date for his return to the lineup.
The Penguins had five days with no team activities before Monday's practice, and that layoff figures to show in their work during the first game or two back.
They produced a thoroughly subpar performance in a loss Dec. 26 in Ottawa, and that was after just two days off.
There are things that can be done to temper the effects of not playing or practicing for a while, however, like keeping shifts shorter than usual and strictly adhering to the game plan.
"If we play to our systems, it shouldn't take to long to get our game revved back up," left winger Chris Kunitz said.
Paul Martin spoke of the importance of sticking to basics -- "The simpler you keep it, especially early, the easier it will be for us," he said -- and fellow defenseman Brooks Orpik pointed out that whatever problems the break causes should be short-lived.
"You just have to make sure you have really good practices and do a little bit extra afterward, just handling the puck and stuff like that," he said. "When you're younger, you kind of panic. 'Geez, I lost everything in three or four days.' But it comes back."
Although players who participate in the All-Star Game generally are excused from the first practice or two after they rejoin their team, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and defenseman Kris Letang went through a full workout Monday.
Bylsma noted that they had a couple of days to rest before traveling to Raleigh, N.C. for the weekend, but there was more to it than that.
Both, it turned out, had concluded that it was more important to get in some quality work before the games that count in the standings resume.
"We didn't do that much [in Raleigh]," Fleury said. "I felt it would be good to get a good sweat, and a good practice."
Rangers forward Ryan Callahan, out since his hand was broken by a Letang shot Dec. 15, is expected to return to the New York lineup tonight. Defenseman Dan Girardi, who missed the past two games because of a rib-cage injury, also has been deemed likely to play against the Penguins, while Brandon Dubinsky (leg) is a possibility to dress.
The short-term outlook is not as good for ex-Penguins forwards Ruslan Fedotenko (shoulder) and Erik Christensen (knee), as well as Derek Boogaard (shoulder) and Alex Frolov (knee), although Vaclav Prospal (knee) is close to returning.
New York already has lost 193 man-games because of injuries, more than double its total for all of 2009-10.
First Published February 1, 2011 12:00 am