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Crosby update, and some NHL rankings.

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

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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