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When it comes to Sidney Crosby(notes), Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review is as plugged in as they come. On Sunday morning, he reported the Crosby "definitely won't play" in the NHL All-Star Game next weekend in Raleigh due to a concussion, with injured teammate Evgeni Malkin(notes) "very unlikely to participate."

From Rossi at the Trib:

Neither the Penguins nor either player would comment late Saturday night. However, multiple sources confirmed early Sunday morning that the players' respective injuries will keep them out of the game - though perhaps not off-ice All-Star Weekend activities.

The Penguins are expected to declare Crosby out for the All-Star Game with an official announcement over the next few days. A final decision on Malkin's availability has yet to be determined, but the club considers his chances of playing very slim.

Crosby has missed eight games due to a concussion, while Malkin has missed the last two with a knee injury.

Will Crosby or Malkin still show at the 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend? And who takes their spot in the All-Star Draft?

Their attendance is an interesting question, given how the structure of the game has changed. There seems to have been more leeway than in the past for players asking out of the weekend due to injury rehab or personal issues; quite a change from the atmosphere surrounding the 2009 game, when the NHL was strong-arming players who no-showed the event.

Crosby showed for that game in a non-playing capacit, to the delight of the Montreal crowd.

Pierre LeBrun of ESPN reported last night that the NHL planned to give any injured player -- Crosby, Malkin, the concussed Ales Hemsky(notes) of the Edmonton Oilers -- until next Friday (the day of the "fantasy draft") to make a decision. From LeBrun:

In previous years, it was a nightmare for the league to try to find a replacement so close to the event because players had already made plans with their families or friends for the break. Choosing from rookies already making the trip to Raleigh makes total sense.

As of Saturday, the league was kicking around how the rookies would be chosen for the game. Would they be part of Friday's fantasy draft, or would the rookies win their way into the game by excelling in Saturday night's skills event? Both are interesting ideas.

The rookies are listed below on this page. If that's the plan, these absences would all but ensure Jeff Skinner(notes) of the Carolina Hurricanes would play in the All-Star Game, no?

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