By: Chris Gates

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Sidney Crosby has still not been ruled out of Friday night’s game against Dallas and, by all accounts, he continues to progress in his contact workouts.

Crosby had a tough time initiating contact into his workouts to start the year, as he was cleared for full practices when the team was in the midst of an NHL-high 13 games in 24 days. Since, the Penguins have played just twice over the last 11 days, allowing him to take a few extra hits and progress in his recovery from a concussion.

Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said Wednesday’s practice was another positive step.

“He has been in quite a few D-zone coverage and 3-on-2s around the net,” Bylsma said, according to the team’s official website. “He shows a great willingness to initiate (contact) and go to the net, look for that type of situation, 1-on-1, 2-on-1, 3-on-2, expecting contact or not. Today we had 5-on-5 and he showed a willingness to go into the area where there’s traffic, whether he get hit or not. He’s shown that willingness for a while now.

“This week we’ve had a chance to practice a bit more and do some more D-zone coverage like we did today. It looks to me like he’s going to the net pretty hard.”

Crosby reportedly declined to comment on his status to the media after Wednesday’s practice, as he said there is no change. If he does return Friday, Bylsma said Crosby could appear on any number of line combinations since he’s spent time on virtually every line since being cleared for contact.

“At different times in the past month or so he’s been with different players on different lines,” Bylsma said. “Some is due to guys not being at practice. He’s been with different people the last month or so. He’s had time with Chris Kunitz, James Neal, (Pascal) Dupuis, (Evgeni) Malkin.

“He doesn’t necessarily need to be with the guys you might see him with when he’s playing. It is something I would look to do, put him with guys I think he’ll be playing with when he gets back in the game.”

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