Lemieux Crosby

Lemieux on Crosby return: “It’s going to be exciting”


Mario Lemieux can’t help but get excited about Sidney Crosby’s impending return.

The Penguins co-owner — who, remember, played alongside Crosby during the 2005-06 season — answered some Sid-the-Kid-related queries following his statue unveiling on Wednesday.

Based on what No. 66 had to say, it sounds like the entire organization is fired up about No. 87 coming back into the fold.

“I know he’s anxious to get back. It’s been a difficult three months for him off the ice, but I think he’s turning the corner now, he’s looking a lot better,” Lemieux told NHL.com. “And I’m anxious to see him back.”

In a weird twist, Crosby (24 years old) is almost the same age Lemieux was when he first encountered health problems. After scoring a career-best 199 points in 1988-89, Lemieux only played 59 games the following year, then sat out the two-thirds of the 1990-91 season after having back surgery.

“It’s never fun to be on the sidelines, especially with Sid’s injury” Lemieux said. “It’s a little different than back surgery or hip surgery or anything else out there. You have to be patient. But I think he’s getting better, he’s getting close to being back on the ice.

“And it’s going to be exciting when he gets back.”

Lemieux’s not the only one excited about getting Crosby back — Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma has already started projecting potential linemates. In the past, Crosby’s usually skated with Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis, but Kunitz has thrived alongside Evgeni Malkin and James Neal on the Penguins’ top line. Some think the trio should be reunited, while others think Steve Sullivan should take Kunitz’s place and get the chance to play with Crosby.

Bylsma admitted to thinking about it, but said no decisions had been made.

“I think it’s natural to have thought long before (Tuesday) about where Sidney would play and what line he would play on,” Bylsma said. “There’s certainly a lot of thought been given to that — had conversations with Sidney about that, as well. When we have a time where he’s going to be getting back, we’ll have a better idea.”

It looks like Havlat won’t make Panthers

Martin Havlat
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As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.

While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.

It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.

One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.

Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.

Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.

Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?

Silfverberg is set to practice again after Torres hit

Jakob Silfverberg
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Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.

The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.

The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:

That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.

Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:

Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.

Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.