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Shero addresses Jagr, Crosby issues

Jaromir Jagr has an invitation to take a vacation. Sidney Crosby is on one.

Penguins general manager Ray Shero could probably use a diversion from the wild speculation regarding two legendary players in franchise history.

Shero, who is meeting with the amateur scouting staff this week at Consol Energy Center, suggested Tuesday that Jagr won't be courted to play for the Penguins next season and stressed that Crosby's reported postseason setback was really just a slight "step back" along his recovery from a concussion.

On Jagr, who has talked over the past several days of resuming his NHL career, possibly with his original team: "I don't understand where all this came from," Shero said. "Jagr is not a guy we've spoken about in a couple of years. We talked about him for a little bit after his time with the Rangers (July 2008), but that's about it."

At the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships in Slovakia, Shero asked Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek to present Jagr with an invitation to return to Pittsburgh this summer for an annual alumni golf outing that will serve as a reunion of the 1991 Stanley Cup champions. Michalek and Jagr were teammates on the bronze-medal winning Czech Republic team at the Worlds.

Jagr, 39, is an unrestricted free agent after spending the past three seasons averaging about a point per game in the Kontinental Hockey League.

"We were able to get that invitation to him, and we'd like to acknowledge his involvement with the organization," Shero said, adding that he has not spoken with Jagr's agents. "That's really all there was to it."

Regarding Crosby, who did not play for the Penguins after Jan. 5 and has not been cleared by team doctors to resume practicing, Shero is unfazed by that development.

"Cleared for what, to be on vacation?" Shero said. "He's been away, out of the country on vacation, and hopefully having a good time. There's no rush in terms of having a deadline to have him cleared for whatever. In this case the break will probably do him well."

Crosby is scheduled for a return to Pittsburgh at month's end, and he will be re-evaluated by team doctors.

He had ramped up his workouts before the Stanley Cup playoffs opened last month, gaining clearance to practice in a noncontact variety. However, near the end of the Penguins' opening-round series against Tampa Bay, Crosby stopped skating after he experienced slight headaches.

Members of his camp have insisted those headaches may have been related to a sinus infection. Shero said there was a misinterpretation of comments Crosby offered a couple of days after the Penguins lost to the Lightning.

"He took a step back," Shero said. "It wasn't a setback."

Shero said there is a plan for monitoring Crosby's progress during the offseason, but he declined to provide specifics.

The Penguins have not provided a timetable for Crosby's return, and Shero did not offer if there was an expectation for Crosby to be ready for training camp in September.

Like Jagr, Crosby could not be reached for comment.

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