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Penguins Report: Crosby Optimistic He'll Be Ready to Play Wednesday

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Penguins center Sidney Crosby practiced for the second straight day at Mellon Arena Tuesday afternoon. Crosby said that there had no lingering effects on his injured knee from practicing the day before and is optimistic that he will play in Pittsburgh's showdown with the New York Rangers at Mellon Arena Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

"I hope so; that's the way it looks," Crosby said about playing. "Everything is pretty much the same. Hopefully, it stays that way and I'll be good to go. Hopefully, everything stays good and keeps improving. That's all I can really hope for. I just don't want to go backwards."

> Forwards Maxime Talbot and Pascal Dupuis will rejoin the lineup against the Rangers. Both have been absent with undisclosed injuries. Talbot missed the Penguins' previous three games while Dupuis was out of the team’s last seven contests.

"It's good news for our club," head coach Michel Therrien said. "We're finally getting healthy. We need to be healthy for the (playoff) push. It's a good start having Talbot and Dupuis back in the lineup."

"Everything feels great right now," Dupuis said. "We'll see (Wednesday) if I'm in (the lineup) but right now I was on a line. So that's a good sign."

> Defenseman Rob Scuderi returned to practice after missing Monday's session with an illness. Scuderi said that he is "ready" to play Wednesday.

"That's going to up to him," Therrien said. "We'll see how he feels (Wednesday). He hasn't been on the ice for a long time and missed practice (Monday). Obviously, he looked pretty good today. We'll see his energy level and if he's fine, he'll play."

> Defenseman Brooks Orpik skated for the second consecutive day on the ice before practice with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar. Orpik is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury and will not play Wednesday.


"We don't think that Brooks Orpik is going to play (Wednesday)," Therrien said. "Hopefully, he'll be ready for this weekend. We cross our fingers."

"The normal policy playing with (Therrien) is if you don't get a regular practice in the day before, he doesn't want you in the game," Orpik said. "I think timing-wise it's good for the players. Hopefully with no more setbacks I'm shooting for Friday."

Now that Orpik has done two skating sessions on his own, he plans on rejoining the Penguins at Wednesday's morning skate for practice.

"Hopefully, I'll skate (Wednesday) with the team and see how it goes," Orpik said. "It felt better than it did (Monday). That was good because when I got up this morning it was a little sore. I think that was just from not doing anything for 10 days.

"It's tough to completely sit yourself down but in the long run, you learn from injuries, that it is the best thing for you. It drives you crazy. Hopefully, I can right back into practice (Wednesday)."

> Pittsburgh's Tuesday practice looked more crowded than usual. With players returning from injuries, the Penguins had 22 players participate in the afternoon session. Orpik and Ruslan Fedotenko did not participate but did skate on their own before practice. Center Mike Zigomanis was the only Penguin to not skate at all.

The line combinations at practice were: Matt Cooke-Crosby-Evgeni Malkin; Dupuis-Jordan Staal-Petr Sykora; Tyler Kennedy-Talbot-Miroslav Satan; Paul Bissonnette-Bill Thomas-Eric Godard.

The defensive pairings were: Ryan Whitney-Rob Scuderi; Kris Letang-Mark Eaton; Hal Gill-Philippe Boucher; Alex Goligoski-Sergei Gonchar.

> Three Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins took part in the American Hockey League All-Star Game Monday night at the DCU Center in Worchester, Massachusetts. The participants were forwards Jeff Taffe (PlanetUSA) and Chris Minard (Canadian - starter) and defenseman Ben Lovejoy (PlanetUSA).

Taffe put on a show for the crowd, netting a hat trick and two assists for a five-point night to help PlanetUSA record a 14-11 victory. Taffe, who is the fourth-leading scorer (tied) in the AHL with 48 points (18G-30A), scored on all three shots he took in the game and finished with a plus-5 rating.

Lovejoy finished with an even plus-minus rating despite PlanetUSA's yeilding 11 goals. Minard was held scoreless in the game.

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