With lockout looming, Penguins' Crosby skates

| Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, 12:00 p.m.

Sidney Crosby, free of concussion symptoms for eight months, wants nothing more than for the NHL season to begin as scheduled.

Concussions have prevented him from playing large chunks of the past two seasons, and he doesn't want a third straight campaign in the prime of his career interrupted by a work stoppage.

“There's no doubt,” said Crosby, who joined teammates for an informal practice at Southpointe on Tuesday. “I know there are other guys who have battled through injuries and want to play, too. Hopefully, in a couple of more weeks, we aren't talking about (labor) stuff anymore. I want to be playing hockey.”

The NHL's collective bargaining agreement expires Sept. 15 and Crosby, 25, will be one of hundreds of players in New York on Wednesday and Thursday for NHLPA meetings.

Crosby admitted that playing overseas is a possibility for him if NHL owners lock out the players for a significant period. Rumors that he has already discussed this with a European team, however, are false.

“I haven't agreed to anything, but (playing in Europe is) something to think about,” Crosby said. “Nothing specific, nothing set in stone. Depending on how long it (a lockout) would go. … I want to play hockey this year. But there is no set plan, if by a certain date, we're not playing. Nothing like that at all. I'm just going to wait and see what happens.”

Skating with teammates for the first time since being eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by Philadelphia, Crosby looked to be in terrific condition and pronounced himself 100 percent healthy.

Unlike last summer, Crosby was healthy during this offseason and has been working out in Canada and Los Angeles. He skated this summer with as many as 20 NHL players at the Los Angeles Kings practice facility.

“It's been great,” Crosby said. “I've really been happy with getting a full summer of being able to push myself off the ice.”

Crosby, who appears to have added muscle in the offseason, said he believes general manager Ray Shero did a good job this summer and that, along with his own desire to return for an entire season, the Penguins are a motivated bunch.

“I think we're pretty hungry after what happened last year,” he said. “I'm ready to go.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jyohe@tribweb.com or 412-664-9161, Ext. 1975.

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