Sidney Crosby repeated it several times after he went through a full Pittsburgh Penguins practice Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena. “I felt good,” team captain and top center kept saying.
Crosby left Saturday’s preseason game against Buffalo after taking a shot to the right foot. Tuesday was his first time practicing, or skating any significant amount, since.
The news isn’t so promising for winger Bryan Rust, who took a shot to the hand Saturday. Coach Mike Sullivan said Rust will be out “longer term.”
Crosby’s responses seemed to paint a pretty optimistic picture about his availability for the season opener Thursday night against Buffalo at home.
Asked about that, Crosby said, “I feel pretty good. I haven’t talked to (head trainer Chris Stewart). I don’t know the plan.”
Crosby was a full, and full-speed, participant in practice. He skated with wingers Jake Guentzel and Patric Hornqvist and practiced with the top power play.
Sullivan seemed upbeat about what he saw from Crosby.
“I would think it’s optimistic,” he said of Crosby’s outlook. “I thought he looked terrific.”
Crosby got hurt less than 24 hours after a rousing, emotional ceremony in Rimouski, Quebec, where he played junior hockey and where his jersey No. 87 was retired not only there but throughout the QMJHL.
Crosby made it back in time for Saturday’s late afternoon game, but he did not play in the second or third periods. It was just his second preseason game.
“It would have been nice to get in that other game,” he said. “It happens. I’m glad it felt good today. We’ll get ready for Game 1.”
Asked about the particulars of how he got hurt, Crosby offered a fairly vague answer, saying, “I was trying to get out of the way and it caught me. That happens. Either I should face it and block it or get out of the way. Got me in the foot.”
And that was pretty much it.
“I don’t know, guys. You’re asking me to talk about something that happens a thousand times,” he said. “It just got me in a good spot. That’s what it comes down to. I’d love to give you a lot more info, but I don’t think it’s really necessary. I got hit by a shot.”