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Detroit coach digs at Crosby

Morning practice tidbits hours before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final:

BABCOCK: CROSBY A HEAD HUNTER

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock took a well-disguised dig at Penguins C Sidney Crosby on Sunday morning.

“To me the battle they had going last night between (Red Wings C Henrik) Zetterberg and Crosby was a great battle, I thought,” Babcock said.

I thought (Crosby) went head hunting right off the hop. (Zetterberg’s) ability to respond was good. I think that’s a game within the game. If you’re a hockey purist and you like superstars who bring it, that’s a nice match up.”

Crosby seemed aware of Babcock’s intention with his thinly-veiled shot, and…

“I’m not getting involved in those games,” he said. “He can say whatever he wants. I don’t think I’ve been known as a head hunter throughout my career, so he’s the first one ever to say that. It’s pretty interesting stuff.”

Kiddies, Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final is shaping as a Crosby Moment in the making.

GAME 2 LINEUPS

Babcock said Cs Pavel Datsyuk (foot) and Kris Draper (lower-body injury) will not play tonight. Neither player was available for Game 1 on Saturday.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma indicated he has not decided yet to play seven defensemen for a ninth consecutive game.

“Phil Boucher adds something to our power play on the last 30 seconds; not having him, we would have to find a different solution,” he said. “You know, playing the 12 forwards, while it may initially look from the on set that it would alleviate ice time from our (centers) – it doesn’t if you can look back at the games when we did play 12.

“So going to play (two games in two nights), you know, getting a fresh set of legs out there is something that we’ve talked about as a coaching staff. And with the amount of power plays there seems to be in the game right now, if yesterday was an indication, we’re weighing those options and we’ll go with that at game time.”

The Penguins and Red Wings were awarded only three power plays combined in Game 1.

Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi has covered the Penguins for parts of every season that Sidney Crosby has played in Pittsburgh. So, since 2005. He has led the Trib's NHL coverage since 2007, when he became the primary Penguins beat reporter. He joined the Tribune-Review in November 2002. Rossi, 35, is local chapter president of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. He also dabbles in radio, as ClearChannel's "Penguins Insider," and TV, as "NHL Insider" for Root Sports Pittsburgh, and as a semi-regular contributor to The Final Word, a Sunday sports show that airs on WPXI. In 2012, Rossi was recognized nationally by Penn State's John Curley Center for Sports Journalism for his coverage of youth sports for a Trib series that investigated concussion protocol. In 2013, he teamed with Carl Prine for an investigative piece about athletes' charities what was honored regionally. A graduate of West Virginia University and Keystone Oaks High School, Rossi was raised in Crafton and Green Tree and currently resides in Brookline. He is currently working on the authorized biography of Evgeni Malkin. Follow him on Twitter: @RobRossi_Trib

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