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Crosby Returns to Penguins Practice, But Another False Alarm

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Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby joined his teammates for practice Friday at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, but once again he does not consider himself actually cleared for practice, he said afterward.

Instead, Crosby — who also was on the ice with his teammates Tuesday — said it was a matter of logistics.

“Same idea” as Tuesday, Crosby said. “I think I’ve been progressing each week. I’m happy about that. I love being out there right now, but it’s just something that when it’s time, I”ll be out there” in a full capacity.

Crosby began the practice in a gray, no-contact jersey. He did not participate in line rushes. He later switched to a regular, black jersey and practiced with the top power play unit, but he called that “a bit of a tease,” although it helped some to get in those situations. (If he only knew how much of a tease it it for everyone else when he joins the team for practice and gets in on, say, the power play drills.)

He did not travel to Montreal with the team Friday ahead of its game Saturday at Montreal. He said he will skate this weekend and there will be more evaluation before it’s decided whether he will travel to the West Coast with the Penguins next week.

Crosby, when he left the lineup, led the team with 17 points in 17 games.

He said for him to feel like he is really a participant in practice, “I just have to be able to do contact, That’s a big step. Once you are ready for contact, you see how things respond from there, but I’m not ready for that yet. Until then, I think I’ll probably flip-flop between doing my own stuff and skating with the (other) injured guys, and going with the team depending on (the contact nature of) the practice.”

There’s a benefit to the team as well.

“It’s great,” coach Mike Sullivan said of having Crosby at practice. “I know it’s great for our team morale. Our guys love it when he’s out there. He’s obviously making progress. We’re excited about that. But it’s great to see him back with the team.”

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Shelly is the newest columnist and reporter for Pittsburgh Hockey Now. She was a Penguins beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and remains a contributor to The Hockey News. Catch her on Twitter @_shellyanderson

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