By Brian Stubits
CROSBY HITS THE ICE: For the first time since April, Sidney Crosby has taken to the ice (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) for workouts as he continues toward his return from the concussion he sustained midway through last season. In April, as the Penguins were in playoff mode, Crosby was working out with the team, leading to speculation he might come back for the playoffs. He was soon shut down because of headaches, which were blamed on a sinus infection, not concussion symptoms. It's still just another small step in his recovery and doesn't guarantee he'll be ready for camp, but at this point it can only be taken as a positive for Pittsburgh.
PRONGER PROBLEMS: Speaking of rehabbing players and camp, Chris Pronger could miss the Flyers' training camp for the second consecutive year. Recovering from the removal of a herniated disc in his back, Pronger is still not able to up his own personal training beyond treadmill walking as he was directed to give his back 12 weeks to scar up and heal. Hopefully it's not an omen for a repeat of last year, when Pronger played just 50 games, his lowest total since 2002-03.
MR. POPULAR'S PENGUINS: Pennsylvania is Steelers country, right? Well yes, it still is, but not among the youth. While the Steelers remain the state's most popular team, including the teams across the state in Philly. But the Penguins lead all teams in the coveted demographic of fans between 18 and 29 years old. Among that demographic, the Penguins received 27 percent of the vote, with the Steelers second at 22 percent. Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review points out that the Penguins were on the brain at the time of the survey as it was in the middle of Jagr Watch. No matter, it's quite a feather in the Pens' cap to beat out the Steelers, Phillies and Eagles in the young demographic.
THEY COULD BE CONTENDERS: At the Florida Panthers' developmental camp, the team received a visit and motivational speech from Micky Ward (Sun-Sentinel) or the man the movie The Fighter was based on. His story certainly stuck with some of the young Panthers prospects like 2011 draft pick Logan Shaw: "Everyone's going to have low points in their career like he did, retiring for two-and-a-half years. He did it for himself, that's why he came back. That's how we all made it here, believing in ourselves and that's going make us have a successful career."
LET YOUR WINGS FLY: Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader is going to get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take to the air with the famous U.S. Navy Blue Angels (Detroit Free Press). The former Mr. Hockey in Michigan will join the Blue Angels in a special showing in Ypsilanti where he will experience the tumbles, twirls, rolls and near-Mach 1 speeds of the Jets. The Blue Angels are in town for an air show next weekend.