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Crosby could miss final preseason game

As much as Sidney Crosby would like to return to Detroit today and play against the Red Wings as the reigning Stanley Cup champion, the Penguins captain would rather be ready for Friday's regular-season opener.

"That's the most important thing," Crosby said of playing the New York Rangers at Mellon Arena, when the Stanley Cup banner will be raised. "That's the goal. That's my focus now. I'll do all the things I have to, to make sure that, come Game One, I'm ready to go."

Crosby skated Saturday morning at Mellon Arena to test his injured groin, but missed his second consecutive practice and is not expected to play today in the Penguins' final preseason game at Joe Louis Arena.

"It felt better," Crosby said. "I'm just not ready to practice with the team yet — hopefully, in a couple more days."

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma didn't rule Crosby out, saying his status will be determined after he tests it on the ice this morning. There is no morning skate scheduled for the rest of the players.

Jordan Staal centered the first line with wingers Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz, and he also took Crosby's place on the power play. Craig Adams took Staal's spot on the third line with Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke.

"He's still going day-by-day," Bylsma said. "We know this next game is a preseason game and not a regular-season game, so we'll treat it a little differently than we would if it was a game where points were on the line."

Jump right in

Crosby aside, Bylsma said he has no intention of protecting his players from injury against the Red Wings and prefers that the Penguins focus on things such as the power play and penalty kill.

"I'm never one to go to the end of the dock and put your toe in the water and test it," Bylsma said. "This is the last game to get timing down, to get personal timing down, to get your game in order before the regular season, and that's the way I view this game. I'm not going to tell guys to go less than 100 percent to save their bodies for Game One."

Not that practices are any safer. Yesterday, defenseman Mark Eaton was momentarily hobbled after taking a Ruslan Fedotenko shot off the skate, and defenseman Nate Guenin got a cut above his right eye from an errant puck.

Quotable

"Obviously, we have a good memory from there. But it's a new season, and we're going in there to gear ourselves up for the start of the regular season. Although there are good memories of the last time we were there, we know the Wings are preparing for a season and we are, too. We have to go there business-like." — Penguins winger Bill Guerin, on returning to Detroit's Joe Louis Arena for the first time since winning Game 7 to claim the Stanley Cup championship.

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