Fletcher finally rid of hard cast

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Fletcher finally rid of hard cast

PROVIDENCE -- Dane Fletcher didn't have to say a word; as soon as he walked into Providence's Hasbro Children's Hospital Thursday, it was obvious.

The cast is gone.

"We're good to go, baby!" He told reporters, lifting both arms triumphantly. "We're good. No worries there."

Fletcher had at least two surgeries after injuring his right thumb during the 2011 preseason and was stuck in a hard cast for most of the year. The linebacker played in just 10 games (32 tackles) and started five. But it seems having an offseason to fully rest and recuperate has already made a difference.

"It's been good, progressing just like I wanted to. Just hope to continue there, enjoy my time a little bit back in Montana, and relax."

Just in time -- Patriots OTA's begin after the weekend.

"We're looking forward to getting it started back here on Monday, back with everybody," Fletcher said. "I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of the same faces, a lot of new faces, just getting to know everybody again, start from scratch."

Sheary, Crosby lead Penguins past Bruins, 5-1

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Sheary, Crosby lead Penguins past Bruins, 5-1

PITTSBURGH - Conor Sheary scored two goals, Sidney Crosby added his league-leading 28th and the Pittsburgh Penguins won their fourth straight game, 5-1 over the Boston Bruins.

Pittsburgh led 2-1 through two periods before breaking out in the third with three goals in a span of 2 minutes, 57 seconds.

Sheary scored his 17th and has nine goals in nine games. Bryan Rust added his 12th and Patric Hornqvist his 11th for the Penguins, who won a season-high seventh straight at home. Pittsburgh the NHL's best home team, is 13-0-1 in its last 14 home games.

Evgeni Malkin had two assists for a season-best seven-game point streak. Crosby added two assists for a three-point game. Matt Murray made 44 saves to win his fourth straight game.

David Krejci scored his 11th for the Bruins, who have lost four straight and five of their last six.