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Notebook: Crosby Continues to Feel Good

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby continues to feel good in his recovery from a concussion suffered in early January.

He has practiced every day since Penguins training camp opened on Sep. 16, skating with the group not scheduled for scrimmages or exhibition games. On Tuesday, Crosby practiced for the first time with star center Evgeni Malkin, who suffered a knee injury in February.

“That’s a good thing,” Crosby said of following the same schedule. “With each day it’s been good. We’ll see how things go, but I’m pretty happy with the way they’ve gone so far.”

He’s been pushing himself as hard as he can during each practice, which have been long, tough and taxing on the players. But he’s pleased with the way they’ve gone and feels that his fitness and conditioning levels aren’t far behind those of his teammates.

“The practices I’ve been in have been pretty tough, pretty intense,” he said. “But I think everyone’s kind of felt that way, so I don’t feel like I’m too far behind there.”

Head coach Dan Bylsma agreed, reiterating how encouraging it is to see Crosby keeping pace with his teammates during such practices.

“It’s a tough, tough few days for everybody, and I think that’s the optimistic thing seeing Sid out there is that it’s tough,” Bylsma said. “It’s not practice at the end of the year where the heart rate’s not getting near max heart rate. It’s not a 140 (beats per minute) day. It’s maxed out.

“You get maxed out and you push through the fatigue and that’s where he’s been for day 1, day 2 and day 3. He’s getting tired and he’s working just like every other guy’s been, and that’s the good thing to see that he’s going through.”

Crosby still has not been cleared for contact, and there’s no timeline for when that might happen. He knows introducing the physicality aspect will be a tough challenge, and is prepared for how difficult it may be to factor that in.

But when it does occur, Crosby joked that he’s going to pick the biggest guy around to deliver that first check.

“It’d be nice if (Steve MacIntyre) got ahold of me with a good one and then we’ll see how we do,” Crosby quipped.

When Crosby does receive contact for clearance, he’s unsure of exactly how the process will unfold.

“I really don’t know how that goes,” he said. “You just say probably light contact. I’ve gotten bumped kind of accidentally here a couple of times anyway and I’ve been ok. So we’ve just got to see how it goes.”

It could be that a teammate hits Crosby during the flow of a normal skate, or he may ease back into receiving contact in a more controlled setting – perhaps with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar.

Crosby smiled at the mention of Kadar giving him that first hit.

“He’s pretty aggressive out there, so I might need somebody that tones it down a bit,” Crosby joked. “Not ‘Kades,’ I don’t think.”

And until team physician Dr. Charles Burke gives that clearance, Crosby will continue to take his recovery one day at a time.

Penguins forward Steve Sullivan did not skate on Tuesday for precautionary reasons.

The veteran winger left Monday’s Black and Gold Game early with groin tightness, but assured that it's nothing to be alarmed about. He's planning on playing in either Wednesday or Thursday's preseason game.

"I came out and I was just looking to kind of get stretched out and kind of see if I could get the tightness out of it," Sullivan explained. "Coach just said that was enough."

"It was just one of those training camp things. It’s nothing to be alarmed of. We’ll treat it again today and then we should be ready to go on Wednesday or Thursday."

Sullivan has learned much about self-preservation and pacing himself in situations like these during his many years in the league.

“I’ve got to be aware of my body,” he said. “I know how much I can push it and how much it can take before it’s going to break down. I know that the importance is for me to be ready for game 1. That being said, I need to get some reps in to try to find the system out. But I think that (Monday) night, I was happy they were able to pull me out so it stays precautionary and as a just a soreness instead of a tweak or pull.”

Penguins forward Craig Adams underwent successful laparoscopic appendectomy surgery on Aug. 22, with a projected recovery period of four weeks.

Everything went as planned, as Adams said he’s feeling “100 percent ready to go.”

“It’s going great,” he said. “It was tough for a couple weeks not doing anything, but I had enough time to get back into some sort of shape. As camp goes on here, I’m feeling better and better.”
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