Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby starts season on injured reserve, but there’s hope

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We all know how Sidney Crosby is doing well during training camp in pushing himself to be ready to play at some point this season. He’s been practicing with the team, albeit without contact, and he’s going through all the drills and exercises any player would do in camp.

With the season starting this week and the team heading to Vancouver to kick off the season, the Penguins put Crosby on injured reserve to start the season. By being on IR that normally means Crosby won’t be able to play for at least a week. That’s not the case here as Crosby is being carried over on IR from the previous season, he can come off at any point. The key thing here is that Crosby isn’t starting the season on long-term injured reserve. LTIR means a player has to be out for 24 days and up to ten games.

We know Crosby is traveling with the Penguins to Vancouver, but his progress is improving so much that the lack of LTIR designation hints that Crosby could be ready to go within a month. As we’ve seen all throughout Crosby’s progress in coming back from his concussion, the Penguins have treated him very carefully in making sure he’s 100% clear of symptoms before getting back to full-contact action in practice and for games.

We’re not coming right out and saying that Crosby is going to be playing games within a month for Pittsburgh, anything can happen in the meantime, but Crosby’s progress is far enough along that the Penguins don’t feel the need to put him on LTIR to start the year. Whenever Crosby is ready to go, we’ll all be sure to hear about it shouted from the confluence of the three rivers in Pittsburgh, but if you’re a Penguins fan or just a Crosby fan, this is just a sliver of promise that perhaps Sid the Kid’s return might not be as far away as you’d think.

Video: Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have spoken out against a late, high hit that Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik threw on Olli Maatta early in the first period of an eventful Game 2 on Saturday.

Maatta left and didn’t return. He played only 31 seconds, and the Penguins were reduced to five defensemen for a large portion of the game. Orpik was given a minor penalty on the play, but the league’s Department of Player Safety may see it differently.

The hit occurred well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck. He struggled on his way to the dressing room for further evaluation.

Based on multiple reports, Orpik wasn’t made available to the media following the game, which went to the Penguins as they earned the split on the road.

But the Penguins have taken issue with the hit.

“I thought it was a late hit,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, as per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I thought it was a target to his head. I think it’s the type of hit everyone in hockey is trying to remove from the game.”

Game on: Penguins even series with rival Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.

Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.

Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.

It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.

For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.

Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.

Video: Penguins’ Letang was furious after Capitals tie up Game 2 with power play goal

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Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.

Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.

The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.

Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:

Video: Hagelin goes top shelf to give Penguins the lead in Game 2

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In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.

Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.

Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.