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Crosby, Malkin to miss start of Penguins training camp

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will be held out of the start of training camp after sustaining unspecified injuries, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced Thursday.

The Penguins' top two centers sustained injuries in preparation for camp, Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford announced in a press release. Penguins coach Mike Johnston did not go into detail on either injury, except stating that neither is expected to be long-term and that Crosby's is not related to the wrist injury he played through late last season and into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We'll see over the next few days. I don't expect any of them to be long [absences]," Johnston said. "But when the trainers and the doctors inform us at this time of the year that we better be cautious with a few people, then we're going to be cautious."

Johnston said that although it's not ideal to have Pittsburgh's top two forwards injured at the start of camp, it's a result of players preparing for the upcoming season, which makes their short-term absences bearable.

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"The issue is, I think that sometimes the guys, when they get in here together, they get training together, they get on the ice together. It's run by the players, so it's controlled to a degree, but I think the guys, the good thing here is that they're training hard," he said. "They wanted to push each other on the ice, they wanted to push each other off the ice. They're together, which is really good to see.

"Unfortunately, if you have an injury or two, as long as it's not a long-term injury, then you're fine with it."

As Crosby and Malkin will be held out of at least the first few practices, a few notable Penguins will return to the ice after sustaining injuries. Forward Pascal Dupuis and defenseman Olli Maatta will wear red, limited-contact jerseys when Pittsburgh practices at Consol Energy Center on Friday morning.

Dupuis last played Dec. 23, 2013, when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a 5-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators, and he had surgery to repair the injury in February. He said Thursday that he feels 100 percent and has been told the ligament just needs to fully heal before he can take contact. The 35-year-old said if it were up to him, he'd take and give hits Friday.

"I'm feeling great … I guess after the first week I'll be taking [the red jersey] off and starting to get some contact," Dupuis said. "I got back on the ice in June and was on the ice three to four times a week since June. I have been on the ice quite a bit, so hockey-wise I think I'm ready … [Teammates] are trying to avoid me already. I'm trying to bump into them to see how it feels. They'll see the red jersey coming up.

"Obviously if I'm wearing it, it's for a reason. That's what the doctors and the trainers want. But if you ask me, I'd be wearing a black jersey and bumping into everybody."

The Penguins in May said Maatta had shoulder surgery, with an expected recovery time of 4-6 months. Johnston said Maatta has been cleared for limited contact in the practice Friday.

Johnston also said rookie forward Kasperi Kapanen, who the Penguins selected with the 22nd pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, will be available to practice after missing the rookie tournament held in London, Ontario, due to an injury sustained earlier in the summer.

Defenseman Derrick Pouliot, who is recovering from successful shoulder surgery in May, will skate prior to Penguins practices but will not participate with the team. Johnston said it likely will take Pouliot a few weeks until he is prepared to take contact.

"[Maatta and Pouliot] both had their shoulders done at the same time, but from my understanding Pouliot's was just a little bit more complicated in the procedure," Johnston said. "That's why the difference in the timeline."

Pouliot is No. 17 on NHL.com's Top 60 prospect rankings, while Kapanen is No. 39.

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