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Penguins defenseman Lovejoy returns early from knee surgery

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By Dejan Kovacevic
Thursday, April 12, 2012
 

The Penguins welcomed back defenseman Ben Lovejoy just two weeks after knee surgery. He was inserted into the Game 1 lineup Wednesday after Matt Niskanen didn't participate in the morning skate because of an upper-body injury.

The original prognosis for Lovejoy's recovery was about a month.

"Before the surgery, I thought it would be longer," he said. "This is awesome."

Lovejoy worked with Deryk Engelland on the third defense pairing.

> > Philadelphia also welcomed back two regulars from injury, center Daniel Briere (bruised back) and defenseman Nicklas Grossman (upper body). Both missed the final three regular-season games because of hits by Penguins center Joe Vitale.

> > In his morning news conference, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma took umbrage at the notion name-calling between his team and the Flyers is a recent development.

"It's not like it just came out of the woodwork," he said. "Most of the nicknames for Sidney Crosby have originated out of Philly and their fans. It's not anything new. Frankly, the start of the series makes it go away. It's about playing hockey now. Name-calling fades."

> > Crosby summed up his stance on all the verbal jabs succinctly: "A lot of times you forget about that stuff. It's there in every playoff series. Maybe not to this extent, but nobody really remembers what's said. Everyone remembers who wins the series."

> > Left wing Matt Cooke had a slightly different take on Crosby's critics: "I'm not sure why anybody ever thinks it's a good idea to make him mad. Anytime it's happened before, he's gone out there and completely dominated games. Good on us if that's what happens."

> > Jaromir Jagr, 40, strongly suggested he'll return for another season, and it will be with the Flyers "if they'll have me back." Jagr had 19 goals and 35 assists in 73 games after three years in Russia.

"I know I'm going to play," he said. "I don't know where I'm going to play, but it doesn't matter because I love the game. Right now, I'm here and just want to get ready for playoffs."

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A Penguins rally at the Allegheny County Courthouse courtyard in anticipation of the start of the Penguins playoff game against Philadelphia Wednesday, April 11, 2012.

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