Sidney Crosby takes pass on World Championships to rest, heal |
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Jonathan Bombulie

At the end of summer, Sidney Crosby will celebrate his 32nd birthday.

That is part of the reason the beginning of his summer won’t include a trip to Slovakia for the World Championships next month. It’s a tournament he helped Canada win in 2015, the last time the Penguins were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round.

“I’m just going to try to make the most of the rest,” Crosby said. “No significant injuries or anything like that. I think as you get older, there’s kind of things that nag you a little bit, so I’m just going to try and take care of those.”

Several of Crosby’s teammates are likely to compete in Slovakia. Dominik Simon said he will play for the Czech Republic. Teddy Blueger said he has discussed the matter with the Latvian hockey federation.

Matt Murray said he didn’t know if he was authorized yet to talk about if he will play for Team Canada. Jake Guentzel is a strong contender to suit up for Team USA.

Participation in world championships was one of the frequent topics of conversation as the Penguins gathered to clean out their lockers and close the book on the 2018-19 season Thursday afternoon in Cranberry.

Another was injuries.

Most notably, defenseman Brian Dumoulin said the injury that kept him out of the last three games of the regular season was a torn PCL he suffered March 31 against Carolina.

“I’ve never had any knee problems, so that was a little different, playing with a brace and things like that,” said Dumoulin, who added he won’t have to wear the brace next season after having a summer to rest.

Jared McCann, meanwhile, suffered a separated shoulder in Game 1 against the Islanders and was back in the lineup by Game 3.

“It was definitely tough, but the doctors were great here and made the pain go away so it was good,” McCann said.

Kris Letang said the upper-body injury suffered in the outdoor game Feb. 23 that kept him out for 15 of the last 20 games of the regular season was not bothering him in the playoffs.

Players talked about their contract status for next season as well.

Murray and general manager Jim Rutherford said they have not yet turned their attention to a new deal for the 24-year-old goalie whose contract will expire after next season.

Winger Garrett Wilson, one of few unrestricted free agents on the roster, said he would love to return next season. The other players with UFA status are Matt Cullen, Chad Ruhwedel and Zach Trotman.

Cullen said he had not yet made a decision about retirement.

“It’s a big decision for me and my family,” Cullen said. “In the whole scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal, but for us, it’s a big deal. We’ll just give it its due time and put a little thought and time into it.”

Players also discussed personal developments.

Defenseman Erik Gudbranson said he is getting married over the summer. Forward Nick Bjugstad said his pregnant wife was induced before Game 4 against the Islanders and gave birth the next morning.

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