Crosby, Martin, Neal Back On Ice Before Team Practice

By: Casey Shea
Sidney Crosby

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Penguins have won four games in a row without some of their biggest stars in the lineup. However, that could be changing in the near future.

Sidney Crosby was on the ice with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar before the team’s practice Monday morning.

Crosby, who has been out of the lineup since March 30 with a broken jaw, skated in full gear. Crosby also had an attachment added to his helmet to help protect his jaw.

“I would say foot in the water. I didn’t go out there and see how hard he did go, but I know he was just out for basically a skate, get out there, little bit of exercise and get on the ice. I don’t think it was any strenuous exercise at this point,” head coach Dan Bylsma said.

Crosby was injured when a shot by Brooks Orpik deflected off of a New York Islanders’ player into his face. He lost several teeth in addition to the broken jaw.

There was some more good news this morning as James Neal also skated with Crosby and Kadar in full gear.

Neal left in the third period of a 2-1 shootout win over the New York Rangers on April 5. Neal suffered a concussion when he was struck in the head by Michael Del Zotto’s elbow. No penalty was assessed on the play and Del Zotto did not receive any supplemental discipline.

While there is no timeframe for when either Crosby or Neal could return to the lineup, seeing them back on the ice is a good first step. However, Bylsma said that Neal was, “symptom free” following today’s session.

Paul Martin also joined the duo, but did not participate in full gear. Martin has missed the last seven games with a hand injury that required surgery.

“It’s definitely good to see guys on the ice and skating versus not being on the ice and skating, so I think it bodes well for their situations,” Bylsma said.

The Penguins will be back in action Wednesday night when they play host to the Montreal Canadiens.

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