PITTSBURGH – Sidney Crosby participated in the Pittsburgh Penguins' first practice Friday, a day after it was announced he would be held out of the start of training camp.
Crosby took the ice just before the start of practice at Consol Energy Center. The Penguins captain, who did not wear a red no-contact jersey, skated for about 50 minutes before leaving practice as Pittsburgh began a 3-on-3 scrimmage between the blue lines.
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford had announced Thursday that Crosby and center Evgeni Malkin would be held out of the start of training camp because of unspecified injuries sustained during their offseason training. Coach Mike Johnston said neither injury was believed to be long-term. He said Crosby's issue was not related to the wrist injury that Crosby played through last season.
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Crosby said the decision for him to practice was made Friday morning, and that he does not think the injury would have held him out of a regular-season game.
"I'm just happy to hear [I could practice], and hopefully I can put a string of days here [together]," Crosby said. "[The injury was caused by] just working out the last couple days. Hopefully it's not anything I have to miss any time with."
Crosby said the plan was for him to skate for a certain amount of time. He plans to skate Saturday if he feels the same as he did Friday.
"I went pretty hard," he said. "It's just one of those things where you want to be smart."
Friday marked the Penguins' first practice under Johnston, which was capped by a lengthy session of sprints. Crosby said the practice became "pretty intense" before he exited, but said it's difficult to get a read on the new staff from one skate.
"I think the pace was good, though," he said. "I think the guys looked like they were skating well and that practice had a great pace to it. That has a lot to do with the drills and things like that too. So that's the way we want to play and I think that's really what practice kind of indicated.
"I think this time everyone's just excited and eager and guys want to prove themselves. So you expect it to be pretty intense and pretty quick early and I think that's what you kind of saw [Friday]."
Crosby skated Friday with his regular linemates, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis, with Dupuis replaced by forward Nick Spaling in some instances.
Dupuis said the Penguins are not concerned about Crosby's health.
"Nobody's really worried about him getting out there and feeling the way he should be," Dupuis said.
Johnston said he was pleased with how Crosby reacted to the drills.
"He stayed on basically until the last drill, so I was kind of excited by that," Johnston said. "When the players do their physicals and their entering their first day of camp, as with other training camps around the League, there are always players who are held off the ice for one reason or another, the trainers or the doctors are concerned … and he was one of those cases.
"But I was really encouraged by how he handled practice … Whether he's going to practice or not [Saturday], I'll probably find out just before practice again."