Penguins star Sidney Crosby practiced Monday but his status remains uncertain for Wednesday’s playoff opener against the New York Islanders.
Crosby hasn’t played since breaking his jaw a month ago, missing Pittsburgh’s final 12 games of the regular season. He underwent dental procedures and was cleared to return to noncontact drills last week. Crosby says he'll see doctors again Tuesday and will not play until he is given clearance.
The Penguins thrived in his absence, going 8-4 without their captain while locking up the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Crosby still finished tied for third in the NHL in scoring despite missing a quarter of the season. He had 15 goals and 41 assists in 36 games.
Another player who is key to his team’s fortunes, Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider, returned to practice Monday.
However his status for the first game of a quarterfinal series against the San Jose Sharks remained uncertain. Game 1 of the series is Wednesday night.
Schneider was injured April 22 in a win over Chicago, when he played the whole game without any apparent discomfort.
He had not practiced with the team since then and missed Vancouver’s final two regular-season games, but worked out briefly with an assistant coach Sunday.
Coach Alain Vigneault said Schneider is day to day.
Avs get No. 1 pick
The Colorado Avalanche won the NHL draft lottery.
The Florida Panthers own the second pick for June’s draft, while the Tampa Bay Lightning have the third selection.
Colorado had an 18.8 percent chance of winning Monday’s lottery after finishing the regular season with a 16-25-7 record, worst in the Western Conference.
The Panthers, who finished last in the NHL with a 15-27-6 mark, had the best odds of winning the lottery at 25 percent but settled for the No. 2 pick.
Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones is the No. 1-ranked North American skater according to the NHL Central Scouting Bureau. Jones is the son of former NBA player Popeye Jones.
The lottery adopted a different format this year, with all of the 14 non-playoff teams having a shot at the first overall pick.
The remaining 13 squads will be slotted in reverse order of their regular-season points.
In previous years, the lottery-winning team could move up no more than four spots in the draft order.
Edmonton picked first overall in each of the past three years, becoming the first team to do so since Quebec (1989-1991).
Nill to take time
The Dallas Stars have a new general manager. Jim Nill isn’t ready to say if he'll have a new coach.
Nill was introduced Monday after spending the past 15 years as an assistant GM with the Detroit Red Wings, who just extended the longest playoff streak in North American pro sports to 22 seasons.
Glen Gulutzan has coached the last two of five straight years without a trip to the postseason in Dallas. The Stars hold the option on the only remaining year in his contract.
Nill, who signed a five-year deal, says he wants to meet with everyone in the organization, Gulutzan included, before addressing a possible coaching change.
Nill replaces Joe Nieuwendyk, who was fired Sunday.
Regier asks patience
Having gained ownership’s backing to continue rebuilding the Buffalo Sabres into contenders, general manager Darcy Regier is short on specifics on how long it might take.
Asking for patience, the only assurance Regier could make Monday was in cautioning that more ‘‘suffering’’ might be in store before the job is complete.
Regier has not yet determined whether interim coach Ron Rolston will take over on a full-time basis next season.
And he’s not sure whether his start-from-scratch plans will include keeping goalie Ryan Miller and leading scorer Thomas Vanek.
Regier, at least, isn’t going anywhere despite the Sabres (21-21-6) missing the playoffs for a second straight year. Team president Ted Black opened an end-of-season news conference by announcing the GM will be back for a 16th year.