CANONSBURG, Pa. -- For the first time since he was cleared for full-contact practice last month, Sidney Crosby isn't ruling himself out of a Pittsburgh Penguins game.
He also isn't penciling himself in for Friday’s home game against Dallas, saying that his status remains day to day as he mends from the concussion that has sidelined him for 10 months.
Only it appears the day of his return is growing closer.
Crosby went shoulder-to-shoulder and skated stride for stride with his teammates during an off-day practice Monday here at the Iceoplex at Southpointe rink, but said nothing has changed concerning his return.
Except that -- and this was a change -- he acknowledged there was a chance he could play this week.
NEWARK, N.J. – During his first hockey experience three seasons ago, Matty Villacis sat with his father in the Prudential Center and watched the New Jersey Devils. In goal, Martin Brodeur was regularly stoning the opposition on his way to setting five major goaltending records that season.
Matty was mesmerized.
On Saturday, Villacis found himself in the crease of the Devils' Amerihealth Pavilion practice facility, stopping opposition shots much like his hero. Villacis, 10, was one of more than 40 hockey neophytes to take the ice in Newark on Saturday, and one of more than 10,000 nationwide to participate in USA Hockey and NHL's inaugural Come Play Hockey Month initiative. Saturday's Try Hockey for Free Day put a focus on introducing -- or re-introducing, as in Villacis' case -- kids to the sport for the first time.
The general plan in the mind of Abbotsford Heat center Krys Kolanos on the night of Oct. 28 was to make his mark on a game against Grand Rapids.
After sitting out from the sport for more than 21 months with a hip injury, you'd like people to notice that you're back.
"I was just dialed into the game," Kolanos said. "I knew I wanted to pick up at an even higher level than when I left off."
So much time had passed since he last played, it might have been hard to remember where that bar was set. Kolanos reminded them. He produced a hat trick and a helper in his return against the Griffins, then added a goal and two assists two nights later against Hamilton.
ST. LOUIS -- Tony La Russa and Chris Carpenter have been here before. David Freese is living the life these days.
This is how World Series champions live these days.
La Russa, the St. Louis Cardinals' manager for 16 seasons before announcing his retirement, brought the World Series trophy with him prior to the St. Louis Blues' game against the Vancouver Canucks.
La Russa was joined by National League Championship Series and World Series MVP Freese, along with ace pitcher Chris Carpenter, a Blues season ticket-holder. Carpenter's son Sam also joined the trio and dropped the puck for the ceremonial first faceoff -- one week after the Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers in seven games to win the World Series.
DETROIT -- The place people call "Hockeytown" hasn't seen anything like this in a long time.
The Detroit Red Wings have had some losing streaks in the past couple of decades, but combining it with the inability to score goals is just dumbfounding. They are currently on a six-game losing streak and averaging just a goal a game in that skid.
The Wings (5-5-1) are also sitting 13th in the Western Conference prior to Friday night's slate of games. Just looking at the conference standings on a dry-erase board inside the Detroit locker room is an exercise in the bizarre.
A lot was made of Alex Ovechkin's reaction to being left on the bench for the final 87 seconds of regulation as the Washington Capitals came back with a late goal to send the game against the Anaheim Ducks to overtime Tuesday night -- but what about the other 35 minutes and 46 seconds?
That's how much less time Ovechkin spent on the ice -- and how much more often he was on the bench -- through the Capitals' first 10 games compared to the start of last season. Based on his current average, that's almost two full games worth of ice time in the first 10 alone.
With an average ice time of 18:36, Ovechkin is playing almost three minutes less per game then he did last season, and a whopping five minutes fewer than during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 campaigns, when he was logging more than 23 minutes a night.
KANATA, Ont. -- With five days of rest and a three-game winning streak on the line, the Montreal Canadiens (4-5-2) are set to get back in action against the Ottawa Senators (7-6-0) at Scotiabank Place. Whether the break served as a pro or a con will be determined Friday night.
The Senators, who saw their six-game winning streak snapped with a 5-3 loss Tuesday to Boston, are anxious to get back into the win column. Goaltender Craig Anderson thinks the Habs will provide the right opportunity.
Pekka Rinne was trending on Twitter in Canada on Thursday after Nashville locked up its Vezina Trophy finalist to a seven-year, $49 million contract. But if there was anyone still wondering what made the Predators' puck stopper worth such a commitment, they should look back at trends from last spring's playoffs.
Among the most entertaining hashtags on Twitter was #ThingsinRinnesGlove.
The list of responses included everything from "Jimmy Hoffa" to "Charlie Sheen's dignity." But as Rinne celebrated his 29th birthday with a contract extension almost six months later, nobody was making jokes involving his glove hand.
DALLAS -- By the time the Dallas Stars hit the ice on Friday night at the American Airlines Center, six days will have passed since their last game, a 3-1 win over the Devils last Saturday night.
After having two straight days off following the win over New Jersey, the Stars had a productive week of practice but are now ready to begin the month of November in positive fashion as they face the Colorado Avalanche.
"When you're on a good roll, you kind of want to keep things rolling," Dallas captain Brenden Morrow said. "In a perfect world we may have been playing another game a night or two later, but rest is a good thing too. We've had a couple of days of good practice here with pace. Hopefully that's got us sharp for the opening faceoff tonight."
Introducing the new official NHL App, available for iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones and tablets. A host of new features and improved functionality are available across all platforms, including a redesigned league-wide scoreboard, expanded news coverage, searchable video highlights, individual team experiences* and more. The new NHL App on your tablet also introduces new offerings such as 60fps video, Multitasking** and Picture-in-Picture.
*Available only for smartphones
** Available only for suported iPads