Crosby and Poppies
PITTSBURGH--Talk to Sidney Crosby and the answer is the same.
"There's really nothing new," he said today.
But speculation about the possible return of the NHL's best player is starting to heat up if only because the Pittsburgh Penguins, after being the busiest team in the league for the first month with 13 games, are about to get a bit of a break in the schedule.
Local observers have circled Nov. 11, Remembrance Day in Canada, as a possible return date, and here's why.
First, Crosby is practicing full-out with his teammates. This morning during the skate before tonight's game against the New York Islanders, you would not have noticed Crosby as being any different from his teammates. Same gear, same special purplish practice garb the club will wear in warmup tonight in honor of the Hockey Fights Cancer campaign.
"It has been good for us because on days where we have a game the night before and get in a 1:30 and then practice the next day at 11, Sid's the one who pushes the pace," said GM Ray Shero. "That's beneficial for our team."
After Saturday's game in Toronto, the Penguins will have four days off before playing Thursday and Saturday, and then another five days off before a game on Friday, Nov. 11th at home against the Dallas Stars. The thinking among many is that those days off will allow Crosby to get in the full-contact practices he needs to determine if his post-concussion issues have subsided enough to let him return to action.
The team won't speculate on any deadlines or possible return dates. But it's worth keeping an eye on Nov. 11th.
The Penguins sit atop the Eastern Conference with a 7-2-2 record, but Shero says the good start hasn't made it any easier to let Crosby take his time on his rehab.
""When he's going to be ready, he's going to be ready. It wouldn't change anything. It can't. You can't rush a player back whether you're 2-7 or 7-2," said Shero. "It's got to be about the bigger picture."