Penguins notebook: No concussion signs after Despres hit on Crosby

| Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 7:54 p.m.

Sidney Crosby acknowledged it could have been a lot worse.

Crosby's head was hit during a collision with defenseman Simon Despres during a scrimmage Friday. There was no indication of injury and/or concussion symptoms, Crosby said.

Despres was not at fault, Crosby said.

“I thought he had gone off for a line change,” said Crosby, whose head was down as he attempted to turn a breakout pass from Letang into a full breakaway.

“(Despres) let up on me. He could have really drilled me.”

Despres, who is fighting to earn a top-six slot on defense, said he “saw (Crosby) only a few seconds before” the hit.

“I knew it was him,” Despres said. “Still, I hit his head, so I was a little scared.”

Bylsma had no problem with the hit, even though Crosby, his club's captain, played in only 22 regular-season games from Jan. 5, 2011 to March 8, 2012, because of concussion symptoms.

“It was a clean hit, Simon making the right read, the right play,” Bylsma said. “I liked every part of it.”

Vitale strong

Center Joe Vitale is, by Bylsma's assessment, still establishing himself as an NHL player.

He has established a high standard during camp, Bylsma said.

“I don't think to this point he's gone full measure in what he brings to the table,” Bylsma said. “Having said that, what he's brought to this point (in camp) has been his best hockey as a Penguin. It's two scrimmages, two practices, but he's been very good.”

Vitale, a checking-line center, is not without competition. Center Chuck Kobasew is in camp on a professional tryout contract.

Two for Letang

Defenseman Kris Letang scored twice in Group B's 3-1 win over Group C in the second scrimmage of camp. Crosby also scored for Group B.

Group C, which featured center Evgeni Malkin, got a goal from center Jean-Sebastien Dea — a 19-year-old on an amateur tryout contract.

Opening the doors

A practice and scrimmage at Consol Energy Center is open to the public on Saturday.

Doors open at 8:30 a.m. Practice is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., with the scrimmage to follow at approximately at 10 a.m.

Parking is free at arena lots.

Around the boards

Forward Tom Kuhnhackl, coming off a strong showing in games at the rookie tournament in London, Ontario, was not seriously injured Friday despite appearing to favor his torso during a Group C practice. … Right winger Anton Zlobin, a sixth-round pick at the 2012 Entry Draft, is rehabilitating an undisclosed injury, Bylsma said.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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