THE GRITTY TABLOID that has served Philadelphia so well over the past 87 years was placed in the lap of Penguins center Sidney Crosby on Wednesday morning.

Crosby, 24, said he had not seen Wednesday's Daily News - which featured him dressed as the Cowardly Lion with the headline "The Cowardly Penguin: Time to Finish Off Sniveling Sidney."

Crosby picked up the paper and laughed.

"That's probably one of the nicer things they've said about me here," Crosby said.

Crosby was more focused on the Penguins' avoiding their first sweep in 33 years.

The Flyers, too, were more concerned about the action on the ice.

"It's not something we as players should get into," Danny Briere said about Crosby's glamour shot. "We have to stay away from that as much as possible. This is the fans' time of the year to enjoy making fun of other teams and to get into the game. We have to respect who we are facing. Sidney Crosby is one of the best players in the game."

- Frank Seravalli