PITTSBURGH - Just a few things to keep in mind as the Pittsburgh Penguins prepare for another Sidney Crosby comeback:
n At Tuesday's practice, Crosby was working with wingers Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy. On the power play, he was manning one of the points.
All plans are subject to change, and that could happen from one shift to another.
Coach Dan Bylsma has been flexible with his personnel, as recently as Sunday, when he was matching for specific situations against the Boston Bruins.
In the past, Bylsma has shown a tendency to get Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the ice at the same time when the Penguins desperately need a goal.
That could happen on Thursday when the Penguins face the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
So whatever combinations you see might be strictly for the moment.
n Crosby isn't exactly easing his way back. After the game against the Rangers, the Penguins have weekend matinees at New Jersey and Philadelphia.
These will be three physical, intense games with plenty at stake for both teams.
The fact that Crosby is coming back now pretty much assures he's feeling fine.
He could just as easily wait until the team comes home on Tuesday, but he's not.
The playoffs are a grind. The games are tough and the schedule is unforgiving.
This stretch of three games in four days should give Crosby and the Penguins a pretty good preview of the postseason.
n Enjoy the moments. Crosby missed more than 10 months before he came back in November.
After leaving the lineup on Dec. 5, he's missed more than three months this time.
His absence has been eased by Malkin's MVP caliber play, but how many teams can add a player of Crosby's pedigree at the most important time of the year?
If Crosby can stay on the ice, there's no team the Penguins can't beat in the playoffs.
OK, we know that Arena Football is no big deal.
Still, it gave us one of the most interesting sports stories of the year over the weekend.
The teams essentially fired their players, who were about to go on strike.
The Pittsburgh Power was in Orlando for the season opener when they got the word that they had all been released.
Even worse, the team took no responsibility for getting them back to Pittsburgh. The players union hired vans to drive them back home.
In a labor climate where the players almost always win, the Arena Football guys were this close to calling Greyhound.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org