Saturday, November 1, 2008

From combined dispatches

Sidney Crosby has an undisclosed injury, and it’s unclear if the Pittsburgh Penguins star will be able to play Saturday night against St. Louis.

Crosby left Thursday night’s game at Phoenix early in the third period. After the game, a 4-1 loss by the Penguins, he would only say he had “some discomfort.”

The injury appeared to be to Crosby’s lower body - even though he was struck in the upper body by a Coyotes player’s stick at one point.

Penguins spokesman Frank Buonomo would not elaborate on the injury Friday. Crosby was not available for comment because the team canceled a scheduled practice after landing in St. Louis just before dawn.

“We have a day off today in St. Louis and will practice tomorrow before the game,” Buonomo said. Crosby’s participation will depend on how he feels Saturday.

Crosby, the 2006-07 NHL scoring champion and MVP, missed 28 games last season with a high ankle sprain. He hinted after the game this injury isn’t as serious.

“It’s day to day. It’s a little different scenario. I don’t quite look at it like [last season’s injury],” Crosby said. “But it’s not fun.”

Despite being hurt, Crosby seemed more concerned after Thursday night’s game about the Penguins’ poor road trip than he did his injury.

The Penguins are 0-2-1 on a four-city road trip that winds up Saturday night and have lost successive games in regulation for the first time this season. They were beaten 2-1 in San Jose on Tuesday night.

Crosby wouldn’t agree with center Jordan Staal’s comment the Penguins “aren’t buying into the system and working hard.”

“I don’t think it has anything to do with the system,” Crosby said. “I think it has more to do with urgency. It takes more than a system to do that.”

CANADIENS: Montreal suspended Pavel Valentenko without pay after the prospect left the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs to sign a three-year contract with Dynamo Moscow.

Valentenko was in the second year of a three-year, entry-level deal with the Canadiens organization. He signed with Dynamo at the urging of his family, his agent Rolland Hedges said.

RANGERS: Alexei Cherepanov, the 19-year-old rising star and New York draft pick who died after collapsing during a game, was playing illegally for his Russian club, a top military officer said.

Cherepanov’s death Oct. 13 prompted wide outrage among lawmakers and Russian sports officials, with many calling for a major investigation into the cause of the heart problems that led to his death at a Continental Hockey League game. He was a first-round draft pick by the Rangers.

Col. Vladimir Karpenko, a spokesman for the commander of Russia’s Railway Troops, said in comments on state-run First Channel that Cherepanov should have been serving his mandatory military service, not playing hockey with the Omsk club Avangard.

BLUE JACKETS: Forward Jared Boll was given a one-game automatic suspension for instigating a fight in the final five minutes of the Blue Jackets-Colorado Avalanche game Thursday night.

Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock was fined $10,000, also an automatic assessment stemming from the fight at 17:22 of the final period. Boll received an instigator penalty for starting the fight with Cody McLeod in Columbus’ 4-2 victory.

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