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who hit a leadoff double and moved to third on D.J. LeMahieu
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PITTSBURGH -- Yes, that was Sidney Crosby shooting pucks, skating hard from end to end and going through a full practice. No, its not time yet for Pittsburgh Penguins fans to start getting excited. Still missing is an all-clear sign for hockeys long-absent star to begin getting hit again, even if its only in practice. A target date for Crosbys next comeback also remains indefinite, just as it has since early December. Crosby, limited for weeks to on-ice work with other injured players, practised with his teammates Thursday at the Penguins suburban practice rink, only the third time hes skated with them since he last played on Dec. 5. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma cautioned that Crosbys status hasnt changed, even if this was his most extensive on-ice work in weeks. "A chance to get on the ice with some more players," Bylsma said Thursday. "He was out there with our team for the entire practice, although he did not participate in the contact drills that we did have. Well see how he progresses and where hes at in terms of getting on the ice." Concussion-related issued have limited Crosby to eight games over the last 14 months, a considerable stretch for the NHL to be without its showcase star. Lately, Crosby has worked out on a near daily basis with conditioning coach Mike Kadar and any other sidelined players in advance of practice. On Thursday, however, Crosby chose to skate with the full team, even though forward Tyler Kennedy (high ankle sprain) was available to work out with in advance of practice. Bylsma wouldnt say if this means Crosby is getting closer to being cleared for full participation in practice, a necessary step before he can play in NHL games again. "Sometimes it (Crosbys routine) is dictated on if its an optional (practice) or how many people will be out there," Bylsma said. While the Penguins (34-21-5) have only 22 remaining regular-season games, they are hopeful their sidelined superstar can return at some point. But as the season winds down and Crosby remains out -- he now hasnt played for nearly three months -- the Penguins still have no realistic idea when he will be ready. Crosby wont even begin to guess when it might happen, and neither will anyone associated with the team. The uncertainly might be affecting what general manager Ray Shero wants to do in advance of Mondays trading deadline. If Crosby was playing, Shero almost certainly would be looking to add a forward capable of playing alongside his team captain. But with no comeback date in sight, it might not be prudent for the Penguins to rent a player for a role that might not need filling. Shero, usually among the most active GMs at the deadline, has given no indication what his priority is. Since taking over as the Penguins general manager in 2006, Shero has added forwards such as Marian Hossa, James Neal, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Bill Guerin, Gary Roberts and Alexei Ponikarovsky at or near the deadline. Neal, Dupuis and Kunitz remain with the team. But, for now, the Penguins are so crowded with forwards that they assigned Cal OReilly, recently picked up on waivers from Phoenix, to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL) on Thursday. And centre Dustin Jeffrey, who filled in on the No. 2 line during Jordan Staals recent injury absence, was a healthy scratch for a 2-0 win over the Rangers on Tuesday. The Penguins play back-to-back home games this weekend against Tampa Bay (Saturday) and Columbus (Sunday).
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. During the morning loop on TSN, SportsCentre presents Purple Hearts, a TSN Original feature on Daron Richardson, daughter of former NHL defenceman Luke Richardson, who took her own life at the age of 14.
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. After reports emerged on Tuesday that the Toronto FC midfielder would head to Vancouver on loan, the team confirmed on Wednesday that they had, in fact, traded for the Argentine designated player.
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. -- Brandon Jennings made the most of his first game with the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.
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. The team says Paul is day to day and is questionable for Mondays game against New Jersey. Paul is averaging 18.0 points, 8.4 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 37.3 minutes in nine games for the Clippers, who beat Miami and the Lakers in their last two games.
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. The Kings have gone 6-0-3 over their last nine games despite having been held to three goals or fewer in eight of 10 contests this month. Los Angeles has failed to score more than two goals six times in that span. ATLANTA -- Juan Nicasio took the pressure off a Rockies lineup missing some big names. Michael Cuddyer and Troy Tulowitzki each homered, Nicasio solved the Braves and Colorado beat Atlanta 3-1 on Saturday. The Rockies were missing some of their big bats as Carlos Gonzalez missed his third straight start with a swollen finger and Nolan Arenado was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken finger. Arenados injury came in a 3-2 loss on Friday night, and manager Walt Weiss said he wasnt surprised his team had a strong recovery. "It was a tough night last night, a tough loss and obviously Nolans situation," Weiss said. "Just like weve been all year, this team is resilient and they turn the page and show up the next day and compete. They dont lose confidence. It was a good gut-check for us today." Nicasio (5-2) didnt need much offence. The right-hander turned around his ugly history against the Braves -- 0-3 and 9.82 ERA in four starts. He gave up only two hits in six shutout innings. Leaning on his fastball, Nicasio pitched around four walks and had five strikeouts. "To bounce back after that loss last night was big, and we rode Nicasios shoulders today," Cuddyer said. Nicasio pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the third. Instead of being motivated by his poor history against the Braves or the need to take pressure off a weakened lineup, Nicasio said it was an important game only because the Rockies wanted to rebound from Friday nights loss. "I know I need to win today, tie the series 1-1 and tomorrow we try to win the series," Nicasio said. Atlantas Mike Minor (2-3) allowed three runs on four hits -- including the two homers -- in 6 2-3 innings. "Im not happy with the loss but to not have your best stuff and to get a quality start out of it, Ill take it," Minor said. Trailing 3-0, the Braves tried to rally in the eighth. B.J. Upton singled off Boone Logan and moved to third on Freddie Freemans double. Justin Uptons fly to right field off Adam Ottavino drove in B.J. Upton as Freeman advanced to third. Ottavino struck out Evan Gattis to end the inning.dddddddddddd LaTroy Hawkins, who had given up at least one run in each of his last three appearances, earned his 11th save with a perfect ninth inning. The Braves loaded the bases with two outs in the third on Nicasios walks to Jason Heyward and Freeman and a single by B.J. Upton. Justin Upton ended the inning with a foul popup. "We had the bases loaded there with the right guy at the plate early on in the game but (Nicasio) wiggled out of that one," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "There werent a lot of opportunities but we had some and when you dont cash in on opportunities you have games like this." Atlanta didnt manage another hit off Nicasio until Justin Uptons double with one out in the sixth. Nicasio retired the next two batters. Weiss successfully challenged home plate umpire Lance Barksdales call that Charlie Culberson was tagged out at the plate in the seventh. Culberson, who hit a leadoff double and moved to third on D.J. LeMahieus groundout, tried to score on pinch-hitter Charlie Blackmons grounder to first base. Culberson slid head-first with his left hand reaching for the plate as Gattis applied the tag. The call was overturned following the lengthy review -- 4 minutes, 14 seconds. Culberson, who started for Arenado at third base, had two hits. Braves third baseman Chris Johnson, who was pulled from Friday nights game by Fredi Gonzalez for losing his temper after a strikeout, was 0 for 4 in his return to the lineup. Gonzalez confirmed he and catcher Gerald Laird were caught in the crossfire when Johnson broke his bat. Johnson has a history of similar outbursts and vowed he wouldnt have another incident. NOTES: The Rockies recalled INF Josh Rutledge from Triple-A Colorado Springs. ... The homer by Tulowitzki was the first in 71 career plate appearances at Turner Field. ... Gattis returned to Atlantas lineup after missing four games with viral symptoms. ... The series ends Sunday when Braves RHP Julio Teheran faces Rockies LHP Franklin Morales. ' ' '
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who hit a leadoff double and moved to third on D.J. LeMahieu
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