With the month of October officially over, the Pittsburgh Penguins are done with their gruesome season-opening schedule that saw them play 13 regular season games in just 26 days. It was one of the worst season-opening schedules in team history. Add in the fact that superstar Sidney Crosby still isn’t fully recovered from a concussion suffered in January and the numerous other injuries suffered by players, including Evgeni Malkin, Tyler Kennedy, Jordan Staal and Zbynek Michalek, as well as the entirely unfair suspension to Kris Letang, the fact that the Penguins finished October with an 8-3-2 record and an NHL-leading 18 points is nothing short of astounding.
The Penguins finally get a break in the schedule, as the team’s last game was played this past Saturday, and they aren’t scheduled to play again until Thursday night in San Jose. The Penguins will face the Los Angeles Kings two nights later, but then have a five-day break before taking on the Stars in Dallas.
This break really couldn’t have come at a better time.
Crosby has officially been cleared for contact in practice, but the Penguins haven’t had the opportunity to evaluate Sid’s reaction to contact as they’ve been playing games essentially every other day since he was cleared on October 13th.
Now, the Penguins can finally practice and let Crosby get bumped around, and see whether or not his head can take it without concussion symptoms recurring.
If he can, the NHL had better watch out. The Penguins are already number one in the SI’s Power Rankings. They already lead the NHL in points and rank second in goal differential. Adding the best player in the world to that can’t be good for the NHL’s other 29 teams.
Crosby has stated that he won’t play this week against the Sharks or Kings, but a return shortly after hasn’t been ruled out.