Sidney Crosby

Crosby back in Pittsburgh, date with team specialist next


Sidney Crosby’s trip to California to be checked out by a neurological spine doctor is over with and he’s back in Pittsburgh where he’ll continue skating in hopes of getting back to game action. There, Crosby will meet with the Penguins’ concussion specialist to see just how he’s doing.

Penguins GM Ray Shero provided the update on Crosby and where he’s at and, as always, hope springs eternal for the Pens.

“Hopefully we’ll see next week where he is. We’ll get the reports from California and compare those to what has been done so far. With Sidney, we want to continue to look to see how we can get this under control and manageable and get him to play. Like I said before, he’s not going to (play) until the symptoms subside. Hopefully, we’ll have him back at some point soon.”

Crosby was doing his part skating while in California and should those reports turn out well for Sid The Kid, the optimism of seeing Crosby return before the end of the regular season will grow.

The Penguins have managed well without him thanks to the play of Evgeni Malkin who is putting in an MVP-like season. If Crosby does return in time for the playoffs, dealing with the Penguins with both Malkin and Crosby could turn into a nightmare for the Eastern Conference.

Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
AP Photo

Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
AP Photo
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.