Penguins notebook: Crosby named NHL's No. 2 star for October

| Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, 8:42 p.m.

Sidney Crosby led the NHL in scoring from Oct. 12 through the end of the month and was held without a point on only two occasions. Still, his efforts weren't enough to be named the No. 1 Star of the Month. Instead, the league awarded St. Louis forward Alexander Steen with the honor. Steen has scored 11 goals in 10 games. Crosby has produced 21 points in 13 games and was named the No. 2 Star of the Month. San Jose goalie Antti Niemi, who has produced a 9-1-2 record, was awarded with the No. 3 star. Crosby produced points in each of his first eight games, the first time he has started a season in such fashion. Crosby and Steen will have a possible showdown next Saturday when the Penguins make their only trip of the season to St. Louis.

• Center Mark Letestu has found a home in Columbus. Letestu, who was in and out of the lineup with the Penguins before being traded to the Blue Jackets two years ago, has established himself as a regular. He acknowledged that the trade was probably the best thing for his career. “I have no animosity toward them,” Letestu said. He has produced 25 goals and 54 points in 108 career games with the Blue Jackets following the trade Nov. 8, 2011. Letestu credits Todd Richards, the Columbus coach who also was his coach in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, for making him the player he has become. “He and (Dan Bylsma) tag-teamed that,” Letestu said. “I needed a lot of time in the office for teaching and learning how to practice. I needed to learn how to complete harder.”

• Plum High School graduate R.J. Umberger is happy to be back in the Eastern Conference. Umberger started his career with the Philadelphia Flyers but has played most of his games with Columbus, which was in the Western Conference until this season. Now 31, Umberger has played only 15 career games in Pittsburgh and just two regular-season games at Consol Energy Center. “I know my family is really happy about us playing here more often now,” Umberger said. “It's nice to see how the schedule sets up and to think that we could even play Pittsburgh in the playoffs at some point.”

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