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Posted: Jun 22, 2012 3:41:30 am

The reports of Sidney Crosbys demise appear to be news to him. Luke Appling Jersey . The Penguins superstar was back in Pittsburgh on Thursday where he told the assembled media that he expects to play again this year; however he realizes that the nature of his injury means there is no way to be sure. "Im expecting to play this year," Crosby told reporters. "Im sure theres 1,000 different things being said out there and (not playing again this season) is one of them. I expect to be playing." "I hope Im back and I hope I play this year. Thats the thing with (concussions), you dont know." Crosby took some time away from the team on doctors request to get away from hockey for awhile and the everyday grind of constantly being asked on his condition.  It also gave him an opportunity to see his parents. "(The doctor) thought it might be better to go somewhere and relax, and not be asked about it," Crosby said. "Clear your mind, to be able to relax and not worry about things and deal with those stresses, I think that does anybody well. Hopefully, that helped." While Crosby said that he felt that he was getting better, he did describe his situation as "scary."  "Im getting better. Its just slow," said Crosby. "Thats the tough part, the progression and everything is improving. Its just at a slower rate than I want it to be. Its out of my control. You just hope with time, the quicker the better." He also admitted that there is no set timetable for his return to the Penguins lineup. "Its impossible to gauge or put a number of days or a timetable whatsoever," said Crosby. The Penguins are dealing with an injury crisis at the moment. Along with Crosbys injury, Pittsburgh heads into action tonight against the Los Angeles Kings without star sniper Evgeni Malkin, who underwent knee surgery earlier in the day to repair a tear in his ACL and MCL.  In addition, Crosbys linemate Chris Kunitz is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury while rookie pivot Mark Letestu is sidelined for up to six weeks with a knee injury. To compound the matter, agitator Matt Cooke is set to serve the first match of his four-game suspension following his hit from behind on Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Fedor Tyutin.  He also spoke to the reporters for the first time since the discipline was handed down on Wednesday. When asked if he felt that he was being punished for his reputation rather than the specific hit on Tyutin, Cooke told reporters that he had no commet however he did discuss the notion that Tyutin saw him coming and put himself in a dangerous situation.  "From my standpoint as a guy who is physical on the ice, people are trying to be physical with me so I know who is on the ice and Im responsible for myself and Im not going to leave myself in a vulnerable position two feet from the boards when I know someones coming." Cooke did say that he was happy that Tyutin was able to recover so quickly and has not missed any time with an injury. "It wasnt my intention to put him into the boards violently and Im glad he was not hurt," Cooke told reporters.  "Thats the best case scenario in this situation."  To make up for the absences, the Pens have recalled Ryan Craig, Brett Sterling, Joe Vitale and Nick Johnson from Scranton Wilkes-Barre of the AHL. Buster Posey Jersey . Seymour is a repeat offender, who had to pay $25,000 last season after punching Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. New Englands Jerod Mayo and Detroits Brandon Pettigrew were each fined $25,000. Tyron Smith Jersey . Derek Holden and David Shields also scored for the Otters (17-16-2) while McKegg, a prospect with the Toronto Maple Leafs, added two assists. Michael Sgarbossa provided all the offence for Sudbury (11-20-2), while Valiquette made 32 saves. Troy Tulowitzki Jersey . -- Hall of Famer John Elway has been summoned by the Denver Broncos for one more comeback, this time as the teams chief football executive. Anze Kopitar Jersey . Ricardo Ratliffe added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers (22-2, 9-2 Big 12), who have won four in a row since a loss to Oklahoma State on January 25. Michael Dixon donated 13 points. Matt Ryan Jersey . The 28-year-old is almost certain to leave Barca this summer, but his next destination is far from settled. Robert de Assis said: "City want him, but there are other clubs still interested. (Sports Network) - The Atlanta Hawks hope a change of scenery can get them back into their Eastern Conference semifinals series with the Orlando Magic. The Hawks return home to Philips Arena this afternoon after getting blown out in Orlando during the first two encounters of the set. The Magic took the 2-0 series lead on Thursday when Dwight Howard scored 29 points and pulled down 17 rebounds, as Orlando pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 112-98 win over Atlanta. Howard went 8-of-9 from the field and 13-of-18 at the charity stripe. He also had to leave the game with a bloody nose after being inadvertently slapped in the face by Al Horford in the opening moments of the third quarter before returning a few minutes later. He took some very hard hits on the offensive end of the floor, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. A lot of times that led to a lot of frustration and at times retaliation from him. He really kept his head tonight. Although the outcome was the same as the opener, the Magic took a little bit longer before pulling away. In Game 1, the Magic outscored the Hawks, 60-21, over the middle two quarters to win going away, 114-71. Orlando had a 63-41 advantage in the second half Thursday, including 28-15 in the fourth quarter. Vince Carter scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half in Game 2 Orlando, which has won 12 straight contests dating back to the regular season. Jameer Nelson had 16 of his 20 points in the second half and Rashard Lewis also finished with 20 for the Magic, who shot a sizzling 61.8 percent (21- of-34) over the final 24 minutes. Orlando used a 19-2 spurt in the final quarter to seal the win. We do have a lot of weapons, but we do have to do a better job on the defensive end, Howarrd said. DeMarco Murray Jersey. We gave them a lot of confidence with the way we played defense tonight. So next game, we have to make a conscious effort to get the job done on the defensive end. I think we did in the fourth quarter, we have to do it for 48 minutes. The Hawks missed just one of their 31 foul shots for the game, but were hurt by going 12-of-33 from the field in the second half. That included a dismal 5- of-21 clip in the fourth quarter. They also turned the ball over eight times in the final two quarters, leading to 17 Orlando points. Horford had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks, who are a dismal 0-13 all-time in conference semifinal series since the round was renamed as such in 1971. Additionally, Atlanta has lost 13 straight conference semifinal games dating back to 1997. We were better tonight in terms of our overall play, Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. I like how we came out and started the game and going in at halftime was great. We just have to finish up, put four solid quarters together to beat this team. Jamal Crawford tallied 23 points, Joe Johnson 19 and Josh Smith ended with 18 points and nine boards for Atlanta, which has lost 19 of its last 21 road playoff games. We know we can play in this arena and we can play with these guys, Smith said. We just have to establish ourselves. We have to look at the bright side...we played hard and we didnt let them just roll over on us. Orlando took three of four games from the Hawks in the regular season and won the Southeast Division by six games over Atlanta. The two teams have met just one time previously in the postseason, a 4-1 Magic win in the 1995-96 Eastern Conference semifinals. Game 4 in the series is set for Monday in Atlanta. ' ' '

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