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Sidney Crosby back on ice prior to practice

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The Pens’ captain gets some work in but doesn’t join the full team

Pittsburgh Penguins v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images

A day after general manager Jim Rutherford confirmed a full compliment of Penguins are expected to be going to Toronto, Sidney Crosby returned to the ice.

Crosby suffered some sort of discomfort during Saturday’s scrimmage and left the simulated game early and hasn’t been on the ice since. The Penguins are amping up their preparations with a practice today, and then trying to replicate full game days tomorrow on Thursday (with a third intra-squad scrimmage scheduled for 7:00pm) and then another at noon on Saturday. After that, Phase 3 preparations in Pittsburgh will pretty much be done.

The Pens are less than a week away now from their only exhibition game on July 28th. Game 1 of the qualification round against the Montreal Canadiens is scheduled for 10 days on August 1st.

Crosby did not join the full team for the regular practice session, just some individual work was all that was in the cards for today.

Since the team is unable to classify any player as anything but “unfit to participate” regardless of the severity of the issues, it will remain to be wait and see mode for if Crosby attempts to play tomorrow night in the scrimmage. Skating today at least opens the door for that possibility, should everything have gone well with it.

One good piece of news for the Pens is this was the first day where Patric Hornqvist and Juuso Riikola practiced with the main group, now almost 10 days into Phase 3 of training camp.

The NHL recently said only two players across the whole league have tested positive for covid since training camp started, and nine Pens’ players were held out — so doing the math the cautious move to keep them apart paid off with some negative tests that cleared the players to rejoin the team.