Pens' Crosby refuses to speak about return
The national hockey media began infiltrating Pittsburgh on Wednesday, but its center of attention hardly rolled out the welcome mat.
Center Sidney Crosby declined to speak after the Penguins practiced at Consol Energy Center. His reasoning, relayed through a senior member of general manager Ray Shero's hockey operations staff: Nothing has changed since Monday.
It was then that Crosby did not dismiss the possibility of Friday marking his return to NHL games — though, as Penguins coach Dan Bylsma reiterated yesterday, there remains "no timetable for (Crosby's) return."
The Penguins host the Dallas Stars on Friday.
Crosby, who has not played since Jan. 5 because of a concussion, has never identified Friday as a pinpointed return date. He appeared agitated Wednesday by the gathering of media members at his dressing-room stall, sharply informing the group he had no plans to speak.
National media outlets such as ESPN and Canada's TSN are already in town and others plan to arrive today, bringing with them an increased focus on the game Friday night between Eastern and Western Conference foes.
TSN is planning an hour-long special before the broadcast of the game in Canada, Crosby's native land.
Before his concussion-related absence it was not routine for Crosby to speak daily with reporters, but there has been no set schedule for interviews since he was cleared Oct. 13 for full-contact practices by Penguins physician Dr. Charles Burke.
Crosby may not address his status again until he is clear on a return date, said the senior member of Shero's hockey operations staff.
Right wing Tyler Kennedy practiced again yesterday, but he said he likely won't play Friday or Saturday night at Carolina
He last played Oct. 15 and was placed on injured reserve Oct. 17 because of concussion-like symptoms.
"I'm still trying to get into a little bit better shape, but other than that I feel pretty good," Kennedy said after a practice that featured him skating on a line with left wing Chris Kunitz and center Jordan Staal.
Again absent from practice were defensemen Zbynek Michalek (broken finger) and Ben Lovejoy (broken wrist), and Bylsma did not provide encouraging words regarding Lovejoy.
"I wish it was clearer, but it's not • he'll be re-evaluated after six weeks, (and) it's likely to be a little bit longer than that," Bylsma said.
Lovejoy was injured last Thursday in a shootout loss at San Jose. Michalek remains on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 24. His original diagnosis was for an absence of between four and six weeks.
Around the boards
The Penguins did not practice Tuesday because of what players loosely described as a "team building" activity at Nemacolin Woodland Resorts. Wives and significant others were part of the activity for the first time. ... Practice yesterday lasted approximately 90 minutes. Bylsma said the session today will be shorter. ... Bylsma on center Mark Letestu, who was traded to Columbus for a 2012 fourth-round draft pick Tuesday night: "Yes, I feel there is some emotional attachment to Mark Letestu and the journey he's been on. I'm proud of a lot of how he's progressed and worked, and like I told him (Tuesday), I'll be watching him every chance I'll get."
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