Crosby Watch: Sid won’t play Thursday, will travel to Florida


TSN’s John Lu with the latest on Sidney Crosby: No. 87 won’t be playing in Tampa Bay tomorrow but will accompany the Penguins on their trip to Florida. Pittsburgh will play two games in the Sunshine State — in Tampa on Thursday, in Florida on Saturday — before returning to the Consol Energy Center for a three-game homestand against the Islanders, Blues and Senators.

We’ve spent an inordinate amount of time speculating which game will be Crosby’s debut. Many figured last night’s game against Colorado would’ve been the one (the Avs and Pens managed to put on an exciting show without Sid, mind you) but perhaps further perspective is needed.

Here are some things we know — or think we know — about the situation:

— Pens GM Ray Shero indicated he’d prefer Crosby make his return at home.

Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune said the least ideal situation is for Crosby to return in a back-to-back scenario.

— The Pens don’t seem keen on making Crosby’s debut a dramatic narrative. They had opportunities to do that on Friday (home game against Dallas, best team in the West) and last night (home game, nationally televised on Versus and TSN2).

— Pittsburgh’s next back-to-back is Nov. 25 (vs. Ottawa) and Nov. 26 (at Montreal). So it’s unlikely either of those games will be the debut.

— After the three-game homestand, Pittsburgh hits the road:

Sat, Nov. 26 in Montreal
Tues, Nov. 29 in New York (Rangers)
Thurs, Dec. 1 in Washington
Sat, Dec. 3 in Carolina

Before coming back to Consol on Dec. 5 for a Monday night affair against the Bruins.

So there you have it. We hope you’ve enjoyed your daily Sidney Crosby update. Brough should be chiming in with the latest Mike Green news soon.

After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’

Jimmy Hayes, Damon Severson
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Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.

“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”

Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.

Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.

Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.

“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”

Virtanen to make NHL debut tonight versus Kings

Jake Virtanen
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Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.

“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”

Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.

The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.

If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.