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Sidney Crosby return for Game 1 of NHL playoffs still in question

Sidney Crosby will see the doctors tomorrow, still needing their clearance before he can join the lineup. Will that happen in time for Game 1 of the NHL playoffs on Wednesday night?

Nick Laham

Sidney Crosby again skated today with the team in practice, but he again was centering the ‘5th line’ with Dustin Jeffrey and Joe Vitale, two players expected to be healthy scratches Wednesday night for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs when the Pens welcome the New York Islanders.

Crosby has been on skates since April 15th, two weeks ago, and received doctor’s clearance last week to practice with the team, which he’s done regularly. He’s expected to wear the plastic jaw protector in addition to his normal visor when he returns.

As Crosby said last week, his exact return time is out of his hands. "It's not really up to me to be honest with you," Crosby said. "It's something the (doctors) have to feel comfortable with the healing and that kind of thing. As soon as they say the word I'll be ready to go."

Will he get that word tomorrow? Stay tuned. It has now been 4+ weeks since the injury and initial surgeries, so hopefully Crosby will receive good news about his healing and availability from the docs. For now the Pens practiced Monday with the same lines they used in a 8-3 win over Carolina on Saturday:

Chris KunitzEvgeni MalkinJames Neal
Pascal DupuisJussi JokinenJarome Iginla
Brenden Morrow - Brandon SutterMatt Cooke
Tanner GlassCraig AdamsTyler Kennedy / Beau Bennett

It’ll be interesting to see if the Pens use Bennett over the more veteran TK, it seems that penalty killing role may have earned Glass a spot in the lineup, though if Crosby can return, that will set off a chain reaction when Jokinen is bumped down the lineup. As of now though, who knows what the fallout will be or if it will even be needed for the opening game of the playoffs.