Crosby skates with Penguins for first time since wrist surgery

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CRANBERRY, Pa. — Sidney Crosby skated with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time during training camp Saturday. 

The center took part in a morning skate before the Penguins preseason finale at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. Crosby had skated on his own before practice throughout camp after having wrist surgery Sept. 8. 

The recovery was expected to be at least six weeks from the date of the surgery, which would keep Crosby out at least through the first week of the regular season. The Penguins open the season against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN, TVAS).

The Penguins are also without second-line center Evgeni Malkin, who is expected to miss at least the first two months of the season after having knee surgery June 4. 

Defenseman Mike Matheson returned to practice Saturday after leaving early Friday with what coach Mike Sullivan called a “nagging lower-body thing.” Forward Zach Aston-Reese took part in the skate after he was previously placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol. 

Crosby and Aston-Reese rotated on a fourth defense pair with Matheson. Crosby, Matheson and Aston-Reese are not listed as part of the roster for the game against Columbus. 

Jeff Carter skated in Crosby’s normal position at first-line center with left wing Danton Heinen and right wing Bryan Rust. Usual first-line left wing Jake Guentzel is in COVID-19 protocol. 

After leading the Penguins with 62 points (24 goals, 38 assists) in 55 regular-season games last season, Crosby was held to one goal and one assist in a six-game loss to the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup First Round. 

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