Sidney Crosby

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

8 Comments

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.

Sabres welcome back oft-injured Kulikov, who has missed 26 games

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 18: Dmitry Kulikov #77 of the Buffalo Sabres in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 18, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Getty
Leave a comment

Dmitry Kulikov‘s first year in Buffalo has largely been defined by his lingering back injury, but he’ll set about changing that narrative when he returns to the lineup tonight in Nashville.

Today, Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma confirmed Kulikov would play for the first time since Dec. 27, having missed nearly a month with his lingering ailment.

Kulikov also missed 13 games earlier in the year with the same back problem.

Acquired at last year’s draft in a deal that sent Mark Pysyk to Florida — along with picks being exchanged — Kulikov was expected to play a big role in Buffalo this season, and projected to play on the club’s top defensive pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.

“You watch Florida when they go on the PK; he was the first guy on the ice, when they needed a goal on the playoffs he was on the ice, when they needed to protect a lead late in the game he was on the ice,” Sabres GM Tim Murray said at the time of the trade, per NHL.com. “So we certainly liked what we saw.”

All told, the 26-year-old Russian’s appeared in just 20 games this year, registering a single point. He has averaged over 22 minutes per, though — meaning head coach Dan Bylsma has used Kulikov quite a bit, when available.

Kulikov didn’t take this morning’s skate, so no clear indication on who he’ll pair with this evening.

Coyotes’ Holland fined for punching Palat

holland-punch
Leave a comment

Arizona’s Peter Holland has been fined $3,611.11, the maximum allowable under CBA, for punching Tampa Bay’s Ondrej Palat during Saturday’s Coyotes-Lightning game in Glendale.

Holland threw the punch halfway through the second period after getting taken out along the boards by Palat. Holland didn’t like the hit, so he got up, dropped his gloves, and leveled the unsuspecting Palat with a bare fist to the face.

Holland received four minutes for roughing, but the Lightning failed to capitalize with the man advantage.

The Coyotes would go on to win, 5-3.

Ladd back for Isles, who are playing well lately

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26:  Andrew Ladd #16 of the New York Islanders skates against the Montreal Canadiens at the Barclays Center on October 26, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Canadiens defeated the Islanders 3-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Getty
Leave a comment

The streaking New York Islanders will get a key piece back on Tuesday, as Andrew Ladd returns from a four-game absence to face the visiting Blue Jackets.

Ladd has been out of the lineup since Jan. 16 with an upper-body injury.

“I just wanted to be a part of the way we’ve been playing the last little bit, last five games and have put ourselves back in the position where we can get into the playoff race,” Ladd said, per the Isles’ website. “You try to inject some energy, some emotion into getting back in the lineup and just want to be a part of winning some hockey games. I’m excited to get back in there.”

As mentioned, the Isles are on a bit of a roll. They’re 4-1-1 in their last six and have points in four straight games, all of which came under interim bench boss Doug Weight. Weight, of course, took over from Jack Capuano after the longtime head coach was fired from his post last week.

Ladd’s largely been a disappointment this season after signing a monster seven-year, $38.5 million deal in free agency. He has just eight goals and 12 points through 41 games, but did have a decent stretch of production prior to getting hurt.

The biggest reason for New York’s improved play lately has been Thomas Greiss. Now firmly locked into the starting gig — after Jaroslav Halak cleared waivers and sent to the minors — Greiss has gone 2-0-1 in his last three starts with a 0.98 GAA, and .971 save percentage.

Unsurprisingly, Greiss will get the nod against Columbus this evening.

If the Isles can get another result tonight, they could draw closer to the idle Flyers in the wild card chase. New York currently sits just five back of Philly for the final spot, but needs to leapfrog five teams — Boston, Florida, Carolina, New Jersey and Detroit — to get there.

 

 

Elliott has cooled off, and so have the Flames

EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 12:  Goalie Brian Elliott #1 of the Calgary Flames covers up the puck while playing against the Edmonton Oilers on October 12, 2016 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Getty
Leave a comment

It looked for a while like Brian Elliott had regained his form. From Dec. 14 to Jan. 5, he went 5-0-0 with a .922 save percentage.

Alas, things have gone sideways again. From Jan. 6 onward, Elliott has gone 0-3-1 with an .872 save percentage. Last night, he allowed four goals on 28 shots as his Calgary Flames fell, 4-0, in Toronto.

“I think the difference tonight was they capitalized on some chances that they had and we had some really good looks that we didn’t capitalize,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano, per the Calgary Herald. “That’s the end of the story — it’s a 4-0 game. You have to score at least a few goals to win games in this league.”

Indeed, it’s hard to blame the goalie when he doesn’t get a single goal of support. The Leafs’ first goal, the winning goal, certainly wasn’t Elliott’s fault.

But the second goal could’ve been stopped…

…and the third was the back-breaker, coming with his team on the power play.

The Flames didn’t put up much of a fight after that. The loss was their third in a row, and tonight they have to play in Montreal.

Expect Chad Johnson to get the nod against the Canadiens. He hasn’t been too good lately either. In fact, he only lasted 5:58 of his last start, before he was pulled after allowing three goals on four shots in an eventual 7-3 loss to Edmonton.

Read more: ‘It’s embarrassing,’ says Gulutzan after lopsided loss to Oilers

The Flames are still in a playoff spot, thanks in large part to the struggles of the Kings and Jets. But for a team that thought its goaltending problems had been solved by the addition of Elliott, it has to be frustrating that the position remains a weak spot.

Both Elliott and Johnson are pending unrestricted free agents.

Related: An interesting goalie market awaits in the summer