Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal

Sidney Crosby suffered setback in comeback from concussion

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It’s been almost too quiet on the Sidney Crosby front and now with the Penguins out of the playoffs, the summer will be a bit longer than normal in Pittsburgh. While that’s good news for Crosby in his efforts to get healthy after suffering a concussion in January, as the team packed up for the summer to head home we found out a bit of information that comes as a surprise.

During Crosby’s efforts to make a comeback from his concussion in the playoffs, it turns out the Penguins captain suffered a setback in his training and had to stop skating with the team.

Penguins GM Ray Shero took a very practical approach in looking at the news of Crosby’s setback.

“The great news is that he’s got all kinds of time on his side right now,” Shero said. “Dr. (Micky) Collins expects a full recovery, it’s just a matter of time with this injury. I’m not concerned about it. With the season ending, it’s disappointing, but from Sid’s standpoint, the pressure and the question of when he’ll come back goes away, and now he can go back to healing and feeling good about himself.”

The news is disappointing considering Crosby’s been hurt since early January. With concussions being such a fickle and inexact injury to pinpoint and treat appropriately, the news that he hit a bump in the road is disheartening. Crosby was well on his way to an MVP-type season and one that very likely would’ve been his best as a professional. Instead, all it took was a collision with David Steckel and a hit from Victor Hedman to put an end to his season and on the long road to recovery.

On the upside, Crosby will have no stress during the offseason to take his time to get ready for a hopeful return next season. With training camps opening in September, Crosby has five months to put the concussion symptoms behind him, hopefully, for good. The Penguins were able to continue winning without both Crosby and Evgeni Malkin thanks to Dan Bylsma’s ability as a coach to keep steering the ship straight in a disaster, an effort that earned him a shot at the Jack Adams Trophy as coach of the year this year. Bylsma would love to have his job made a lot easier next year in getting both of those guys back into the lineup and get back to scoring goals.

For now, the summer turns into an extended waiting process to see how Crosby progresses and whether or not he sees any more setbacks in his recovery and if he can get back to doing what he does best.

Stars put Spezza on injured reserve, recall Faksa from AHL Texas

Dallas Stars v Arizona Coyotes
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Sitting three points out of top spot in the Central Division and on the eve of an important divisional clash on home ice with the Chicago Blackhawks, the Dallas Stars have placed center Jason Spezza on injured reserve retroactive to Thursday, the club announced on Friday.

Spezza, 32, was injured during Thursday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. The Stars can move back to within a point of Chicago for the division lead with a regulation win on Saturday.

In 52 games this season, Spezza has 18 goals and 40 points, which ties him with Patrick Sharp for fourth on the team in total points.

With Spezza out, the Stars recalled 22-year-old forward Radek Faksa from the Texas Stars in the AHL.

Faksa has 15 goals and 26 points in 28 games this season with Texas. In 18 games with the NHL Stars, he has one goal and three points.

Hitch’s recipe for more goals is a pretty simple one

Ken Hitchcock, David Backes, Dmitrij Jaskin, Paul Stastny, Patrik Berglund
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Ken Hitchcock wants the Blues to spend more time attacking and less time defending.

Because hockey isn’t rocket science, that’s why.

“To score and win games in the National Hockey League…you have to spend as much time in the offensive zone as you can,” Hitchcock told the Post-Dispatch.

“When you’re occupying the offensive zone more, you’re forechecking more. When you’re occupying the offensive zone more, the goalie has to make saves. They’re having to defend more. And the opposing team takes penalties on you. So they’re all connected. … What I want to see from us is staying on the puck for longer stretches.”

According to the stats, the Blues have not been spending as much time in the offensive zone as we’re used to seeing from them. In fact, in their last 20 games, they rank in the bottom third of the league in score-adjusted Corsi. That compares to their first 20 games when they were in the top third.

The result is fewer shots, and more importantly, fewer goals. The Blues have fallen all the way to 25th in offense, averaging just 2.37 goals per game. Last year, they finished fifth (2.91).

Yes, some of that may be due to the absence of Jaden Schwartz, and he should be back soon. But there’s a reason people are watching GM Doug Armstrong as the Feb. 29 trade deadline approaches. This team could probably use another piece up front.

The Blues host Minnesota Saturday.

St. Louis has scored just five goals in its last five games.

Goalie nods: Lindback ‘really excited’ for first start in almost three weeks

Anders Lindback
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Tonight in Anaheim, Anders Lindback will make his first start for the Arizona Coyotes since Jan. 16.

The Coyotes have been riding rookie Louis Domingue since just before Christmas, but Domingue has allowed five goals in each of his last three starts, including last night’s 5-4 loss to Chicago.

Lindback’s last appearance came Tuesday in relief, when he allowed one goal on 10 shots in a 6-2 loss to the Kings.

Lindback was in goal for one of Arizona’s three victories this season over Anaheim, stopping 33 of 36 shots in a 4-3 overtime win on Nov. 9. However, his .896 save percentage ranks among the lowest in the league.

Frederik Andersen is expected to start for the Ducks.

Elsewhere…

— No word yet on a Penguins starter in Tampa, but Ben Bishop will go for the Bolts.

Cam Ward will start for the Hurricanes in Winnipeg, where Connor Hellebuyck is expected for the increasingly desperate Jets.

— Joonas Korpisalo was solid last night in Vancouver, but the Blue Jackets have not announced their starter for tonight’s game in Calgary. Karri Ramo will be in goal for the Flames.

A ‘pretty solid two-way player,’ Sundqvist to make NHL debut for Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins' Oskar Sundqvist (49) collides with Minnesota Wild's Jason Zucker (16) in the first period of a NHL preseason hockey game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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The latest Penguins injuries, these ones to Evgeni Malkin and Eric Fehr, have led to an opportunity for Oskar Sundqvist.

Sundqvist will make his NHL debut for the Penguins tonight in Tampa. The 21-year-old center has five goals and 11 assists in 39 AHL games this season.

“Sunny’s a pretty solid two-way player,” coach Mike Sullivan said, per the Tribune-Review.

“I don’t think he’s going to dazzle you with flashy plays, but I think he’s a guy who plays the game the right way. He’s hard to play against because of his size. He’s got a long reach, and he’s got a good stick.”

Sundqvist was selected 81st overall by the Pens in 2012. He’ll become the fourth player out of that Pittsburgh draft class to make his NHL debut, after Olli Maatta, Derrick Pouliot, and Matt Murray.

Veteran Matt Cullen will replace Malkin on the second line, skating with wingers Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel.

Related: Nick Bonino out ‘at least a month’ with hand injury