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Crosby won't play for Penguins Sunday

Center Sidney Crosby will not make his return to action Sunday when the Penguins host the Boston Bruins at Consol Energy Center.

However, Crosby's week of absorbing contact during practice has gone well and there remains a strong opportunity the Penguins' captain will play on March 15, when the Penguins visit Madison Square Garden for a showdown against the New York Rangers.

Crosby was in good spirits following today's practice at Southpointe.

"The good thing is we've got some good chunks of practices here next week," Crosby said. "We'll see how that goes and hopefully it's soon."

Crosby seemed baffled that so many had seemingly assumed he would return against the Bruins on Sunday. On Monday, Crosby said he would return on Sunday at the earliest.

He reminded everyone that he never said Sunday was a sure thing for his return.

"I said the soonest was Sunday and everyone jumps to Sunday," he said. "I never said that. I said that would be the soonest based on our practices, but we had one canceled and had a couple of morning skates. This is something you don't want to mess around with. You've got to make sure that (you're ready), especially at this time of year, it's even more physical than ever. You've got to make sure everything's well adjusted, make sure that you've done the right things to prepare and that's basically what it comes down to."

Crosby denied that the team's current eight-game winning streak has made it easier to avoid rushing back into the lineup.

Returning to the lineup as soon as his health allows, Crosby said, remains the goal.

"I think you always feel like you're in a rush when you've missed this much time, to be honest with you," Crosby said. "It's really nice that we're winning, obviously that's most important. I think there's always a tendency to have high expectations. I've always had high expectations of myself so I want to get in there as soon as I'm ready."

Crosby is pleased with his recent progress. He hasn't felt headaches following rigorous workout sessions during this month.

"I've been really happy with the way I've felt leading up to this point," Crosby said.

Crosby said he doesn't care who his linemates hare when he returns to action.

An already huge game on Thursday — the Penguins have pulled without four points of the Rangers for first place in the Atlantic Division — would only see its profile enhanced should Crosby return that evening. He is aware of the game's significance.

Crosby, though, remains uncertain when he will return, though Thursday seems remains a likely candidate. The Penguins are off Monday but will practice on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"Any game at this point is going to be exciting," Crosby said. "If anything, a bigger game like that, you're focused even more on making sure you are that much more ready. This isn't the time to kind of just got out there and feel your way around. These are important games and I've got to make sure I'm ready and responsible out there. But that being said it always time, but I want to make sure I'm in and alert."

• Penguins defenseman Kris Letang skated with the team during today's practice but was not available to speak with reporters. This marks the second consecutive day Letang has skated. The day before, he skated with injured defenseman Deryk Engelland before the Penguins' morning skate. He has not played since sustaining a head injury on Feb. 29 in Dallas.

• Engelland also skated with the Penguins on Saturday but said he won't play tomorrow against the Bruins. The defenseman called himself "day-to-day," but said his lower-body injury is showing signs of improvement. He could return Thursday at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers.

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