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Crosby removed from COVID-19 protocol, returns for Penguins

Plays against Flyers after missing one game @NHLdotcom

Sidney Crosby is playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday after he was removed from NHL COVID-19 protocol.

The center missed a 5-2 win against the Flyers on Tuesday after he was placed in protocol and did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.

"It was a challenge," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said Tuesday. "Obviously, those are difficult circumstances. They're unexpected circumstances. But as I said to the players, all we can do is focus on the game and control what we can. We tried to keep our focus on hockey and the players that were in the lineup tonight."

The Penguins practiced Wednesday, one day after canceling their morning skate because of protocol.

"As I said to our players, we can do all the right things and this kind of stuff could happen," Sullivan said before the game Tuesday. "The other thing I would say is just because someone is on the COVID protocol list doesn't necessarily mean that they have COVID. There are protocols put in place for a reason, and we will do our very best to adhere to them."

Crosby is tied with Jake Guentzel for the Penguins lead with 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) and the center is second among Pittsburgh forwards in ice time per game (20:24) behind Jake Guentzel (20:34).

"He's an influential player for us in so many different areas," Sullivan said of the Penguins captain. "He's not an easy guy to replace by any stretch." independent correspondent Wes Crosby contributed to this report

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