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Penguins Report: Crosby Leaves Practice with Sore Groin

Tuesday, 02.24.2009 / 2:54 PM / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
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Penguins Report: Crosby Leaves Practice with Sore Groin
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby left practice early Tuesday at Southpointe with a sore groin. Crosby is listed as probable for Pittsburgh's showdown with the New York Islanders at Mellon Arena Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m.

"Same thing as (Monday), just aches and pains and concern in the groin area," interim head coach Dan Bylsma said. "He warmed it up and went on the ice. It wasn't as good as it was (Monday). We thought it would be better to continue to get some rest and get ready for (Wednesday). He's in a probable state right now. We'll see in the morning."

Forwards Ruslan Fedotenko and Matt Cooke returned to practice after missing the previous day for a conditioning evaluation. Both are expected to play against New York.

"I have not talked to our trainer about Cooke and Fedotenko," Bylsma said. "They were feeling good going into practice. They looked like they practiced well. Barring a message I don't expect, it looks like they passed today's practice and should be pretty good for (Wednesday)."


> Bylsma said that defenseman Kris Letang will be back in the lineup for Pittsburgh against the Islanders. Letang was a healthy scratch in Pittsburgh’s previous three games.

“I need to work harder,” Letang said. “(Bylsma) told me that I can be a better player than I am right now. So he wants me to work harder every time I go on the ice. We had a few practices so I tried to get the most out of it and try to show him that I’m ready to play.”

     
 

 
     
“I was real happy with the way Kris Letang practiced,” Bylsma said after Monday’s practice. “I think he completely knows what we expect and he made an effort to do that in practice and it was duly noted by the staff.”

Part of the reason Letang couldn’t break back into the lineup is because the Penguins were winning and Bylsma didn’t want to shakeup a good thing.

“There are lots of things that go into that decision,” he said. “The players that were in, played well. Certainly Mark Eaton, who didn’t play at Long Island (Feb. 16), got in there and has played a couple of real good games. We started to move in the right direction as a team. There were breakdowns and people didn’t play perfectly but the guys on the ice laid it on the line. We got a couple wins in a row and that was a part of the situation as well.”

Bylsma's goal is to help Letang realize his potential as a player.

“Dan is asking in another way to push me,” Letang said. “He knows that I can become a great player. I just need to work and do what he asks me to do.”

“I’m a real big fan of Kris Letang’s talent and skill and what he can bring to this team,” Bylsma said. “I think he can be a really effective player. I don’t know if there’s a bigger fan than me so it’s just a matter of application and bringing the urgency every day and applying it on the ice and being mentally focused to do that day-in and day-out.”

With Letang back for the Penguins, Bylsma wouldn’t reveal whom he’ll replace in the lineup.

“We’re waiting to make that decision until (Wednesday),” Bylsma said.


> Bylsma confirmed that Marc-Andre Fleury will be back in goal for the Penguins against the Islanders. Pittsburgh plays five games in the next nine days. Bylsma said that he hasn't figured out how he'll use his goaltenders during that stretch.

"Marc-Andre will start (Wednesday)," Bylsma said. "He's our No. 1. He's a guy that's going to carry the load for us. We believe in what he can do for us going forward for the rest of the season."


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