Crosby took part in Pittsburgh's practice Tuesday at Southpointe Iceoplex, but did not skate with regular linemates or work on the power play. He has done both in past practices, which suggests Crosby is unlikely to play.
"Our lineup is a game-day decision," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said after practice.
But in his post-practice comments, Bylsma admitted that the subterfuge associated with the Stanley Cup Playoffs already has started and he has no intention of tipping his hand before necessary.
Plus, until Crosby gets the all-clear to resume contact, the conversations about when or where he will play are hypothetical.
Crosby was scheduled to meet with his doctors after practice in his bid to be cleared to play. Crosby has been out since a deflected puck March 30 left him with a broken jaw and several missing teeth.
Crosby said he has no expectations either way heading into the appointment, but he will tell the doctor he feels he is ready to play.
"But I've been saying that for a while now," Crosby said, adding the decision is up to the medical professionals.
Crosby has been skating with a protective jaw guard affixed to his helmet to protect the healing injury. He said he will continue to wear it for as long as necessary if it means he can play.
"I'll wear anything to play, whether it's a football helmet or whatever it is," Crosby said. "Whatever it takes."
Crosby, who had 56 points in 36 games and led the NHL in scoring until the final week of the season, said he will play as soon as doctors clear him.
"As soon as I get the word, I'm in," Crosby said.
Whom he will play with upon his return also seems pretty open-ended. The Penguins have undergone a dramatic makeover in the past month, adding forwards Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Jussi Jokinen. Crosby has little experience with the reconfigured lineup, but Bylsma said he is not concerned with how Crosby will fit in when he returns.
"In terms of the players [Crosby is] going to play with, he's comfortable with those players," Bylsma said. "It's not something new or out of the ordinary."
The status of defenseman Brooks Orpik for Game 1 also is unknown. Orpik, out with a lower-body injury, skated on his own before practice Tuesday, according to Bylsma, who gave no further update.