Crosby might return as Jagr's Panthers visit Pens

BY foxsports • October 25, 2016

PITTSBURGH -- Jaromir Jagr and Sidney Crosby are from different eras and different countries, and the style of play when each entered the NHL was wildly disparate, as well.

What they have in common is the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Jagr, who is 44 and is 25 years removed from his NHL debut, starred on the first two Penguins teams to win the Stanley Cup. Crosby, who is 29 and is 11 years removed from his NHL debut, starred on the last two Penguins teams to win the Stanley Cup.

On Tuesday night, the crisscrossing careers of two of the NHL's most dominant offensive players of the last quarter-century could converge again at PPG Paints Arena.

Crosby, who missed the first six Penguins games with a concussion, took part in a full practice Monday -- his first since the season began. He might make his season debut against Jagr's Florida Panthers.

"It was just good to be back on the ice with the guys. It's not easy watching," Crosby said. "To be out there was nice and, hopefully, (it was) a good step."

Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan, whose team is coming off a 5-1 loss at Nashville on Saturday, no doubt would welcome back the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, although he didn't say for certain if Crosby would play.

The Penguins (3-2-1) likely will make sure Crosby experiences no setbacks after going through a full practice before he gets the go-ahead to play.

"Sid is day-to-day," Sullivan said Monday. "We'll take tomorrow as it comes."

There always seems to be another tomorrow for Jagr, who won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins during his first two NHL seasons in 1991 and 1992 -- back when goals were much more plentiful than when Crosby debuted in 2005. He has been gone from Pittsburgh for 15 years -- can it possibly be that long -- yet he still is more closely associated with the Penguins than he is with any of his other seven NHL teams.

Jagr played 806 regular-season games with Pittsburgh; he has appeared in no more than 277 games with any other team.

"My (Pittsburgh) fans are already dead or old," Jagr told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "There are new fans. Half of them probably don't even know I played there."

Jagr was booed for years -- though never with venom that accompanies some once-popular players' departures from a city --after he was seen as orchestrating his departure from what was then a cash-strapped Penguins franchise in 2001.

However, he remains an icon in the city, even if it is difficult to spot the once-prevalent No. 68 Jagr jerseys in the stands.

Jagr always enjoys playing in Pittsburgh, no matter what jersey he wears; he has 24 goals and 22 assists in 52 career games against the Penguins. (Plus 439 goals and 640 assists in 806 games with them.)

Last season, Jagr's 27 goals were the most of any player his age in NHL history. Last week, he joined Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe as the only NHL players to score 750 goals in their careers.

When he turns 45 on Feb. 15, Jagr will become -- barring injury -- only the third player to ever play at that age, joining Howe and Chris Chelios.

Jagr has one goal and two assists in five games to help Florida get off to a 3-1-1 start.

Stanley Cup-winning goalie Matt Murray (broken left hand) also resumed practicing with Pittsburgh for the first time this season on Monday.

"I'm getting closer and closer every day," he said.

Marc-Andre Fleury has started in net in all six Penguins games to date.

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