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Crosby seeing specialists

Penguins forward Sidney Crosby is greeted by fans while walking out to the rink for practice ahead...

Penguins forward Sidney Crosby is greeted by fans while walking out to the rink for practice ahead of the 2011 NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Penn., Dec. 31, 2010. (JAMIE SQUIRE/Getty Images/AFP)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:27 AM ET

Sidney Crosby has been consulting with a number of specialists as he tries to recover from concussion before the start of the Pittsburgh Penguins training camp.

Crosby, who didn't play after being concussed in early January and had to alter his summer workouts after the symptoms returned this month, recently saw specialists in Michigan and Georgia, according to a report on the Penguins website. Their conclusion, the report says, is he will make a full recovery in time.

"I appreciate all the support I've received from my family, friends, teammates and fans and from the entire Penguins organization," Crosby said in the report, the first time he has been quoted since reportedly having a setback during his off-season training in Nova Scotia. "I know they only want the best for my health, and for me to be fully ready when I return to game action."

The Penguins' captain is expected back in Pittsburgh before training camp but no timetable has been set for his return. The Penguins open camp on Sept. 16 and open the regular season Oct. 6.

The report also says Crosby started having headaches when his workouts were ramped up to 90% exertion level. When that happened, doctors and trainers altered his workout program.

"There has been a lot of speculation swirling over the past several weeks," Pat Brisson, Crosby's agent, said in the report. "We wish we could provide more specific details about Sidney's recovery, but a concussion is a different kind of injury. It's not something you can check with an x-ray. And you can't predict a precise recovery period. It's all about the way he feels.

"He has been feeling a lot better but we want to give him all the time he needs to make a full recovery. He's only 24, and he's got a lot of great years ahead of him."

Pronger progressing

Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger isn't expected to be ready for training camp but general manager Paul Holmgren thinks he'll be good to go when the regular season begins.

Pronger, 36, had back surgery in May, his fourth operation in a year, and hasn't been able to work out hard during the off-season. He will visit orthopedic surgeon Dr. Frank Cammisa Friday in New York.

"We anticipate he'll get the full go-ahead to do everything," Holmgren said Thursday. "Chris feels great and I think tomorrow is just a formality. He's been working out, but he may be a little bit behind of where he would be if he didn't have to deal with what he went through. We anticipate he'll be ready for the start of the season. Whether he can take part in any pre-season games or not is probably a little too soon to tell."

The Flyers open training camp Sept. 16 and play in Boston Oct. 6 to start the regular season.

Camp battle

His coach might think differently but Washington Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth isn't about to concede anything to Tomas Vokoun.

Caps coach Bruce Boudreau has gone on record as saying he expects Vokoun, a free-agent signing, to start the season as his No. 1 goalie, relegating Neuvirth to a backup role. But Neuvirth, who expected a heavy workload when Semyon Varlamov was traded to Colorado at the start of free agency, isn't going down without a fight.

"It's still summer. We still have three weeks until training camp," Neuvirth told the Washington Post. "Whatever Bruce is saying, it doesn't bother me. We'll see what happens in training camp. Obviously, Tomas is a great goalie and I respect him."

Neuvirth, a Czech native, returned to the Washington area early and expects to take part in informal workouts every weekday until camp starts Sept. 17. It's all part of the plan to supplant his fellow Czech and onetime idol.

"When I was a kid, I wanted to be like him," Neuvirth said. "Now, I want to be better than him."

Avs' Mueller excited

Colorado Avalanche forward Peter Mueller is one physical away from being cleared to take part in training camp.

Mueller missed all of last season after suffering a concussion in the Avs first pre-season game. But he said Thursday his concussion issues are behind him.

"I'm excited to be a hockey player again," Mueller told the Denver Post. "Obviously, I've had concussions in the past and it's something I have to deal with, but right now everything is in the right direction. Everything is pointing forward. I'm excited that it's all behind me."

Mueller has been skating regularly and expects to pass his physical on Sept. 16. If so, he'll have no restrictions in training camp.

Kane better now

Last week, Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, who had surgery on his left wrist over the summer, didn't think he'd be recovered in time for training camp.

Guess he's no doctor. Kane said Thursday that, after consulting with his doctor, he will in fact be healthy for camp on Sept. 15.

"I expect to be at training camp and definitely ready to go," Kane told the Chicago Tribune. "(But) there's really no timetable for what date it's going to be. If it's the 15th or if it's the 20th or whatever it might be, I'm sure I'll be in there before the regular season and certainly not long after training camp starts -- if not when it starts."

Having Kane ready to go from the drop of the puck would be a big boost for the Blackhawks. He had 27 goals and 46 assists in 73 games last season.

New home for Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres won't be playing in the HSBC Arena this season.

Instead, they'll call the First Niagara Center home. Same building, different name.

First Niagara, which bought the upstate New York and Connecticut branches of HSBC Bank USA, also agreed to buy the naming rights to the Sabres' arena. The naming deal is for 15 years.

It's the third different name for the rink since it was opened in 1996. It was originally called the Marine Midland Arena before becoming HSBC Arena three years later.


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