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Crosby optimistic NHL season will be salvaged

Associated Press Modified: October 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm •  Published: October 11, 2012
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Following two basically lost seasons in which he dealt with concussion-like symptoms, Crosby insists he's as healthy as he's ever been. He spent last week in Vail, Colo., getting in some altitude training with about 18-20 other players and was bumped around quite a bit without any issues.

He certainly looked fresh dashing up and down the ice on Thursday, his white helmet with the No. 87 on the back of it a blur as he skated nimbly around a series of pylons and more than a few teammates. Crosby is eager to wipe away the taste of last spring's ugly first-round playoff exit when the Penguins were thumped by the rival Philadelphia Flyers in six games.

As anxious as he is to go after a second Stanley Cup, he's also aware there's something more at stake than his own personal goals. That's why he hasn't gotten frustrated by the lack of progress in discussions, and in a way the turmoil he's dealt with over the last 20 months has helped prepare him for the current labor stalemate.

"When I went through all that stuff, a lot of things you can't control, you just have to be patient," he said. "It's kind of a similar scenario here. You just have to be positive and hope for the best."

Crosby would like to believe the owners are negotiating in good faith. He's heard talk about a predetermined deadline the owners have to not get serious about things until mid-November. He'd like to believe that's not the case.

"We had a good idea it wasn't going as fast as we would have liked but I don't think anyone gave up being positive," he said. "You just realize negotiations are going to take a little time. If anything you'd like to see a little progress and we haven't seen any of that."

So Crosby will continue to show up four days a week to stay in shape, hoping he can scrounge up enough teammates to get something resembling a hockey practice in. It's not ideal, but he's not quite ready to tell agent Pat Brisson to start seeking out a place for him to moonlight overseas while the NHL irons things out.

"If there's a point where I think that I'm not going to be ready to start the season unless I go and play somewhere else (I might)," he said. "But we're not to that point yet."

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Follow Will Graves at www.twitter.com/WillGravesAP