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Crosby update, and some NHL rankings.

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About 90 minutes before the Penguins and Flyers meets for the final time this regular season, with no less than perhaps the inside track on the East’s No. 1 seed at stake tonight at Consol Energy Center.

= This is the Penguins’ penultimate home home, and they leave Wednesday for a two-game swing through Florida. Nothing is confirmed officially, but I was led to believe by several people within Camp Crosby that he should accompany the team to Florida. That does not mean he has been cleared by team doctors to practice — though, Crosby’s confidants remain optimistic that clearance will come within the week. He did skate this morning for about 35 minutes, looking sharp — as he has in the individual workouts for about a week now.

There has been speculation that the Penguins have targeted Crosby’s return for the next home game, against New Jersey April 5. That is not true. When Crosby is ready to play — and that will be his call, after he’s been cleared by doctors — he will play. There is no target by the team or management. They are waiting on the doctors then him. Period.

= Some around-the league rankings:

*The local club made a huge jump in ESPN’s eyes: http://espn.go.com/nhl/powerrankings

*Canada’s TSN is not so high on the Pens: http://www.tsn.ca/fantasy_news/rankings/nhl/

*CBS Sportsline is high on the Caps and Pens: http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/story/14870482/power-rankings-caps-closing-deal-in-style

*The Pens are among 3 East teams in the top 4 for Canada’s Sportsnet: http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2011/03/28/power_rankings_mar28/

*The USA Today results haven’t been sent to the panelists yet, but when they arrive I’ll pass it along. I suspect local fans will like what they read from my MVP ballot…

–Rossi

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Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

 
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