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Crosby still progressing, not in Detroit

by Dan Rosen
DETROIT -- Sidney Crosby tested his ailing groin Sunday morning back home in Pittsburgh and coach Dan Bylsma reports that he is "progressing," though he would not guarantee that Crosby will be in the lineup Friday against the New York Rangers.

Crosby did not make the trip to Detroit on Sunday for Pittsburgh's final preseason game before Friday night's season opener and banner raising ceremony at Mellon Arena.

"You know what, I haven't gone there," Bylsma said when asked about Crosby's status for the season opener. "Getting better, or hope to get better, and we'll go from there. He went through his paces today. That's all I'm saying."

Bylsma wasn't sure when Crosby first experienced discomfort in his groin, but he aggravated it to the point where he couldn't continue beyond his third shift of Thursday's game against Columbus.
"It was just sore," Crosby said Thursday. "It bothered me in warm-ups and bothered me the last couple of days. It got worse. It's better to stay off of it."

While Crosby's absence is a case of the Penguins being precautious, Bylsma said they are treating the groin injury the same way they would normally treat it in the regular season.

"If it was the regular season you wouldn't want to take a chance on creating an injury that was greater than what you already have," Bylsma said. "It's more precautionary and knowing that we have a chance to get healthy in the next few days. It's a decision about that."

Bylsma, though, was hoping to have his full lineup for Sunday's game since it was the final tune-up before the regular season kicks into gear Friday.

Instead, the Penguins went with a lineup that includes five bubble players that, provided Crosby can play Friday, are competing for three spots -- defensemen Nate Guenin and Deryk Engelland, as well as wingers Paul Bissonnette, Chris Conner and Ryan Bayda.

Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Ruslan Fedotenko, Sergei Gonchar and Mark Eaton were scratched.

"This is a game that we wanted to be at our best for," Bylsma said. "It's the last chance to get everyone fired up and ready to go for the season. I know (Crosby) wants to play in this game. We would have been full bore for this game."

Wings update -- Detroit has seven cuts to make before they take off for Stockholm, but their NHL roster was already determined prior to the game against Pittsburgh. Wings GM Ken Holland told they will carry 22 players, including 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies.

Derek Meech will serve as the seventh defenseman behind Nicklas Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Brian Rafalski, Brad Stuart, Jonathan Ericsson and Brett Lebda. Justin Abdelkader and Patrick Eaves will be the 12th and 13th forwards. The other 11 include Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Dan Cleary, Todd Bertuzzi, Tomas Holmstrom, Johan Franzen, Jason Williams, Valtteri Filppula, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby and Ville Leino.

Jimmy Howard is the backup goalie, though Daniel Larsson, a Swede, will make the trip to his home country as the third goalie. The NHL is allowing the four teams opening in Europe to bring as many as 24 healthy players overseas as long as they have three goalies.

Defenseman Andreas Lilja and center Darren Helm are out with injuries, but both are traveling to Sweden with the club.

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