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Insider Only Crosby to return to the lineup; Kunitz takes a step forward

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (groin) is participating in the Penguins morning skate as the Penguins prepare to take on the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at Mellon Arena.
Crosby missed Saturday’s contest against the Chicago Blackhawks due to a sore groin.
Updated: Sidney Crosby will return to the lineup tonight and play on a line with Bill Guerin and Max Talbot.
Defenseman Alex Goligoski (groin) is also participating in the morning skate and is close to returning to the lineup.
Goligoski has missed the past three games with an injured groin. Goligoski though is the extra defenseman in the morning skate, likely indicating he won’t play.

Another bright sign for the Penguins is that Chris Kunitz joined his teammates on the ice today for the first time since November 12th. Kunitz skated for about 20 minutes.
Kunitz has been targeting this week to practice and was somewhat surpisingly cleared to practice by team doctors this morning.
His return though is still in the Mid-December range at the earliest. Kunitz is currently on injured reserve due to cap reasons.
Team specialist Mark Mortland wants Kunitz to begin skating and see how Kunitz injured leg responds. The injury is believed to be a knee but the team is saying leg injury in closed circles. Initially the team stated that Kunitz would only be sidelined for 2 weeks.
This was a step forward for Kunitz but how he reacts this week will tell the story of when his return will be. For the past week, a Mid-December/Christmas return has been speculated.
*Marc Andre Fleury will start in goal for Pittsburgh. Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward is very close to returning to lineup for the struggling Hurricanes but won’t play tonight. Paul Maurice indicated today that Ward will return Wednesday night against New Jersey.

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