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Penguins have plenty to do during long offseason

By Will Graves

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, April 24 2012 5:50 p.m. MDT

"(I want to) make sure I have a healthy summer and feel good coming into next season," he said. "That's the most important thing. That's where I'm at. I want to have a good summer."

Not wanting to push it, Crosby doesn't plan to play for Team Canada in this summer's World Championships. Crosby's last venture into international play ended with him scoring the gold medal-winning goal against the U.S. in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

It's a sweet memory but Crosby is more concerned about jeopardizing his future after a bumpy 16 months.

"Typically I'd be (at worlds) in a second," he said. "This isn't a normal situation. This isn't me trying to hide from the World Championships. I love playing for Team Canada."

Malkin, who led the NHL with 109 points, will play for Russia and offers have been extended to several other players, including Canadian defenseman Kris Letang and forward James Neal. Neal's thumb injury may prevent him from playing this summer and Letang is dealing with a hip issue.

Shero has no problem with his top players staying active over the summer. He'll be too busy trying to figure out how a franchise that appeared on the verge of a dynasty after winning the Cup in 2009 has now lost three straight playoff series.

"They've achieved a lot, but this league is tough, we see it now," Shero said. "There are 19 teams like us sitting out right now, some real good ones too. It's a school of hard knocks and we're going to see if we can bounce back."

Most of the answers lie in the dressing room. One that emptied out earlier than expected.

Again.

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