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Crosby ruled out for Penguins' season opener

DETROIT -- The expected became official yesterday when Sidney Crosby admitted following practice that he will not be medically cleared to begin the season with the Penguins in Vancouver on Thursday.

"No," Crosby said. "I wouldn't expect it."

Although Crosby has seemingly progressed daily during training camp, there was never serious consideration to him playing in Western Canada. Still, there is a general sense of optimism that Crosby will return to the lineup soon.

"I think him being on the ice every day and him participating in training camp is (a good sign)," coach Dan Bylsma said.

Crosby said that he confers with his medical team on a fairly regular basis -- once every few days, he said -- and has been symptom-free during training camp.

He intends on making the trip with his teammates to Western Canada.

"We're getting back from our trip here and then we're going to be going (out West)," Crosby said. "So when we get back from that trip, maybe I'll go see the doctor then. Every day, I just try to go as hard as I can and hope that things keep going like they're going. It's been really good so far."

Orpik returns

Brooks Orpik, who has been struggling to become 100 percent healthy following hernia surgery this summer, returned to practice with the Penguins on Saturday and felt fine following the workout. It seems unlikely that Orpik will be ready to play when the regular season begins, and he acknowledged that he must force himself to be patient with this injury.

"It's a step in the right direction," Orpik said. "I'm probably a little paranoid after the last two summers. I'm trying to just learn from that, (and) as soon as something starts hurting, don't be stubborn and try to battle through it."

Change in the air

Many Penguins would be in favor of abolishing the NHL's long-standing touch-up icing rule. Injuries during races for the puck behind the goal line have been increasing.

Penguins defensemen Ben Lovejoy and Orpik are in favor of abolishing the current rule.

"I'm definitely in favor no touch-up icing," Lovejoy said. "It's so trivial. It's a small part of the game. It's not part of the fabric of the sport. The only thing you get rid of by getting rid of the rule is five injuries a year."

Edmonton defenseman Tyler Fedun broke his leg Friday night while being chased from behind by Minnesota's Eric Nystrom.

"With that rule," said Orpik, referring to hypothetical change in the current policy, "that never comes close to happening."

No Geno

Evgeni Malkin did not practice yesterday and will not play today against the Red Wings. Having played in four of the team's exhibition games and in the Black and Gold Game in Wilkes-Barre, Malkin is simply being rested before the season begins and is not injured.

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