It’s simple: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will make his second comeback of the season on Thursday when the Penguins take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, according to the Pittsburgh Penguins website.
Crosby’s return comes during the team’s nine-game winning streak and immediately before a tough three-game, four-day stretch against divisional opponents including the Rangers, New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers.
“I feel good and the plan is to play Thursday,” Crosby said after practice on Tuesday. “I got a good practice and I’m looking forward to getting out there Thursday.”
In a somewhat surprising decision, Crosby is expected to play on a line with Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy Thursday night. This will leave the Chris Kunitz – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal line intact. Sid also skated on the team’s top power play unit in practice today, along with Kris Letang, Malkin, Neal and Kunitz.
UPDATE: General Manager Ray Shero says Crosby will be “eased” back into the team’s lineup by playing on the third line. Head coach Dan Bylsma said Crosby will play with Jordan Staal at some point before the playoffs. Expect lots of tinkering with lines, but a smart man’s money is on Neal and Malkin remaining together through it all.
Crosby has played in just eight games since being concussed in early January 2011. In those eight games, Crosby recorded two goals and 12 points. Despite a ten-month injury layoff, after a physical game against the Boston Bruins in early December, Crosby’s concussion symptoms returned. He has not played since.
Let’s hope he’s better off this time around. As much as it hurts to think about, another ten-game stint before returning concussion symptoms could spell the end of Crosby’s lustrous career.
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