PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins isn't ruling out playing in the 2011 NHL All-Star Game next week in Raleigh.
But Crosby, the leading vote-getter for the game and arguably the NHL's best player, isn't ruling it in, either.
"I haven't started working out," Crosby said today in a brief interview with The N&O. "I don't know what's going to happen. I'm just going day by day right now. I'd like to be there."
Crosby has missed the past seven games because of post-concussion symptoms. He was in the Pens locker room at Consol Energy Center today when the players first left the ice after the morning skate but quickly departed when the media was admitted.
Crosby said it was a thrill to top the online voting for the All-Star game to be played Sunday at the RBC Center. Of the 14.3 million votes cast, he received 635,509 as fan voting decided the first six stars.
"An honor, for sure," Crosby said. "Obviously it's not fun being injured, but I appreciate all the support, for sure, and the support we got for the team."
Pens center Evgeni Malkin, another of the first six All-Stars chosen in the voting, missed Thursday's game against the New Jersey Devils with a sore left knee and sinus infection. He will not play tonight and his status for the All-Star game also is uncertain.
The Pens are 3-3-1 without Crosby in the lineup. They lost 2-0 to the Devils on Thursday, the first time Pittsburgh was missing both Crosby and Malkin in a game since Malkin was drafted in 2007.
The Pens have two other All-Stars. Marc-Andre Fleury received the most votes among the goaltenders, and defenseman Kris Letang finished among the first six as a write-in candidate.
The two teams for the All-Star game will be decided in a Fantasy Draft on Friday.
"I'm just hoping I won't be the last pick," Fleury said today with a smile.
That won't happen. All the goalies must be chosen by the end of the 15th round of the draft, well before the final picks.
Eric Staal of the Canes is one of the All-Star captains but Fleury said he has not lobbied Staal in any shape or fashion -- no texts, nothing.
"And I still want to stop him tonight," said Fleury, who is 20-5-2 over his last 27 starts and had an 11-game win streak.