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Penguins

Crosby not expected to make first round

| Saturday, April 9, 2011

-- Although Penguins center Sidney Crosby participated in another noncontact game-day practice Friday at Nassau Coliseum, coach Dan Bylsma did not paint a pretty picture regarding his possible return for the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs next week. "He has a couple more steps to go in his rehabilitation before he can even think about returning to play," Bylsma said of Crosby, who has been out since Jan. 5 while recovering from a concussion. "I don't know how fast that's going to happen. I don't know if that's going to happen. Considering he has a couple more steps to go through, it seems like anything in the immediate future is out of the question."

-- There were two fights in the first period, but the Penguins and Islanders were mostly on their best behavior last night after they combined for 346 penalty minutes in their previous meeting. Penguins enforcer Eric Godard dropped the gloves with counterpart Trevor Gillies at 8:59 -- just two seconds after the opening goal -- and each earned a five-minute major for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct. The Penguins' Arron Asham then faced off with Zenon Konopka at 11:57; Konopka was assessed an extra two minutes for instigating and a 10-minute misconduct. The teams combined for 21 penalties for 78 minutes.

-- Perhaps to deter any ill-conceived plans, NHL vice president/hockey operations Colin Campbell watched from the press box. Campbell is the league's discipline czar.

-- The Penguins again are asking fans to grow beards for the postseason, which begins Wednesday. A third annual "Beard-A-Thon" will benefit the Mario Lemieux Foundation, and once again Lemieux plans to grow a beard through his club's postseason run. The program has raised $200,000 for the foundation in previous postseasons. Fans can enroll at beardathon.com/penguins .

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