Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby resumes on-ice workouts for first time since April

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It’s been a couple months since the last Sidney Crosby update. Depending on your feelings on Crosby, that could either be the best news possible or an excruciating dry-spell without information. When the best player in the game misses the last four months of his season with post-concussion symptoms, it’s a big deal. When we go for a few weeks (or months) without any clue of progress—it’s a situation that can make Penguins fans wonder if he’ll be back for next season.

It sounds like Crosby has hit the rink for his offseason workouts. The on-ice workouts are the first since he tried to give it a go during the first round of the playoffs in April. He started to get headaches and the team doctors shut him down for the rest of the season. From that perspective, it’s great for Crosby to be back on the ice.

Rob Rossi from the Pittsburgh Tribune Review has been tracking the story and broke the news:

“Penguins center Sidney Crosby has resumed on-ice workouts, the team and his agent confirmed tonight.

The on-ice workouts are part of his regular summer training program.

He last participated in on-ice workouts in April while the Penguins played in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs before he was shut down because of headaches.

Crosby’s confidants believe those headaches were the result of a sinus infection and not a recurrence of concussion symptoms.”

News that the headaches in April could have been caused by anything other than post-concussion symptoms must be music to Penguins’ fans ears. It goes without saying that the Penguins are a different team with Crosby in the line-up. They were able to surprise the hockey world by finishing 4th in the Eastern Conference despite injuries to Crosby and fellow superstar center Evgeni Malkin. Malkin was able to step onto the ice in April as well, as he was recovering from a knee injury that he suffered at the beginning of February.

It’s a virtual certainty that Malkin will be available to start training camp—but Crosby’s post-concussion symptoms have been much harder to predict. Despite only playing in 41 games last season, Pittsburgh’s captain still finished with 32 goals and 66 points. His 66 points was good enough for 30th in the NHL and tied him with players like Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Rick Nash, and Joe Pavelski. His 32 goals put him at 14th in the NHL and tied him with guys like Alexander Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews, and Thomas Vanek (among others). He was able to put up those kinds of numbers even though he only played exactly half of the season.

Sometimes people forget just how dominant he was at the beginning of last season. The good news for Pittsburgh is that he’s right on schedule for a return at the beginning of training camp next year. He still hasn’t been cleared for on-ice contact, but that’s not something he’d be doing in the middle of July anyway. He’s out on the ice and he’s right on schedule. Sometimes the status quo is good news.

We’ll continue to update the story as the summer progresses. If things go well, he’ll be at training camp ready for contact for the first time since January 5th. Until then, all the Penguins can do is monitor how his body reacts to his time on the ice.

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

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Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

(Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

“He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

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The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

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The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

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Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.