Penguins Notebook: Steckel insists Crosby hit inadvertent
Former Capitals forward David Steckel, now with the Devils, injured Penguisn captain Sidney Crosby in the second period of the Winter Classic at Heinz Field Jan. 1.
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NEWARK, N.J. -- The initial contact, David Steckel insists, was inadvertent.
The only follow-up contact has been second hand.
Steckel, then with Washington, delivered a hard blow to the head of Penguins center Sidney Crosby late in the second period of the NHL's Winter Classic Jan. 1 at Heinz Field.
Many believe that hit caused the concussion that has prevented Crosby from playing since Jan. 5, although no doctor publicly has confirmed it.
Steckel, traded Monday from the Capitals to New Jersey, said again before the Penguins and Devils met Friday night at the Prudential Center that he did not intend to hit Crosby, let alone to injure him.
"It was completely unintentional," he said.
"I didn't mean to hit him at all. I tried to get out of the way.
"It's unfortunate, because I feel really bad that he's been out for so long."
Steckel said that although he has not spoken with Crosby since the incident, he asked Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland, a former teammate with Hershey in the American Hockey League, to pass a message along to him.
"I talked to Deryk Engelland afterward and said, 'Tell Sid I'm really sorry. I didn't see him at all,' " Steckel said.
"He just said, 'OK,' " Engelland said. "He obviously wanted to see what happened [on a replay]. That's about it."
Despite participating in the pregame warm-ups Friday night, left winger Chris Kunitz was scratched for the 12th consecutive game because of an unspecified injury.
He could be back in uniform when the Penguins visit Boston tonight, but coach Dan Bylsma said "it's not sure yet" whether Kunitz will be able to play against the Bruins.
Kunitz also had taken part in the game-day skate, and Bylsma said the idea of getting him on the ice twice in the same day was "just to see how [the injury] reacts."
Boston is bringing back its Penguins specialist for the game tonight.
The Bruins recalled defenseman Matt Bartkowski, a Mt. Lebanon native, from their American Hockey League team in Providence because Steve Kampfer will miss the game with a concussion.
Bartkowski has appeared in two NHL games this season (and in his career), both against the Penguins. He has five goals and 16 assists in 55 games with Providence.
First Published March 5, 2011 12:00 am