We were told that Sidney Crosby was only supposed to miss a couple of games because the player and the team wanted to err on the side of caution. First it was a two-game mini road trip that he was supposed to miss. Then it was announced by the Penguins that he’d be out “indefinitely,” but he was still on their roster to return as soon as he felt like he like he was ready to go. Then there was today’s news.
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that Sidney Crosby has been retroactively placed on injured reserve as he tries to recover from his concussion-like symptoms. The move (along with Robert Bortuzzo heading to IR) allowed the team to clear up a couple of roster spots so they could recall Jason Williams and Carl Sneep from their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre. Yet at this point, corresponding roster moves are the last thing on NHL fans minds.
Does this mean that he’s going to be out for an extended period of time? Not necessarily. The main reason that the Penguins would put Crosby on IR would be so it creates a roster spot for a forward that is able to play; Jason Williams for example. However, it makes one wonder if the team is preparing for a longer absence when they reach to the AHL affiliate for reinforcements.
Crosby had been playing well since initially coming back from the concussion he suffered in January. He managed to rack up 12 points in only eight games–including four points in his first game back against the New York Islanders on November 21.
At first, Crosby was just taking a few games off as a precautionary measure because he “didn’t feel right.” Now the team is bringing in someone to replace him on the roster while things get sorted. It’s a significant step.
The Pens superstar has already been scratched in four games since being sidelined. The strong Penguins have had a 1-3 record over the recent stretch, but they’ve been dealing with injuries to Kris Letang, Jordan Staal, and Zbynek Michalek among others; and now Paul Martin is out with a lower-body injury.
But far more important than any short-term success (or failure) for the Penguins is the long-term recovery for the face of the league. It’s hard to look at this most recent development as good news for anyone.
It was only a month ago when the St. Louis Blues were floundering through the 2011-12 season. The team was sitting with a lackluster 6-7-0 record and they were coming off a boring 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild—their third loss in four games. They had the worst power play in the league and looked like a mediocre team that was headed for a mediocre season. Fans expected much more from the team that was sitting in the 14th spot in the Western Conference.
Enter Ken Hitchcock.
Since Hitchcock took over the head coaching duties from Davis Payne, the Blues have gone on an 11-2-3 streak to springboard the team up the standings. They’ve gone from a team that was on the outside of the playoff hunt to a team that is only a single point behind the Chicago Blackhawks for the lead in the Central Division. They’ve used an 11-3-1 record at home and have become one of the best 5-on-5 teams in the league. Yeah, they’ve been pretty good.
Then there are games like Saturdays contest against the San Jose Sharks when they prove that they can win in different ways. The 1-0 win over the Sharks featured a power play goal from Kevin Shattenkirk to deliver the victory for the Blues. How dangerous will this team be when they figure out how to consistently score on with the man advantage?
No matter which way you cut it, the Blues can thank their defense and goaltending for their success this season. The team is leading the league with a 2.03 goals against average this season. Even more impressively, they’ve only give up 1.50 goals per game in the 16 games since Ken Hitchcock took over the team. Brian Elliott has come out of nowhere and is leading the league in goals against average (1.45) and save percentage (.947) among goaltenders with more than two starts this season. The 12-2-0 record isn’t too bad either.
The success has been a long time coming. For the last few season, the Blues have been a team that looked like they were on the edge of turning the corner. With Hitchcock installing his coaching his philosophy and adding a little life to the locker room, the team is starting to fulfill their potential. But are they good enough to compete with the likes of the Blackhawks and Red Wings for the Central Division crown?
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Is it time for a shake-up in Los Angeles? If so, is it time for a trade a coaching change to get things rolling? (LA Times)
It seems like everyone has an opinion on the Colorado Avalanche’s recent struggles. Apparently, “everyone” includes backup goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere. (Denver Post)
Highlight reel goals. Crushing body checks. Big time fights. Any way you cut it, Nick Foligno is becoming a well-rounded weapon for the Senators. (Ottawa Sun)
Zdeno Chara was forced to leave about halfway through the Bruins/Blue Jackets game on Saturday night due to the dreaded “lower body injury.” Boston can’t be excited about the possibility of life without their captain for any extended period of time. (CSN New England)
Do you want to see a Mike Fisher vs. Bobby Ryan mini-fight followed by Carrie Underwood’s reaction? Of course you do! (NY Times)
Not everyone thinks the current realignment proposal is perfect. Preserving divisional rivals is great, but what about those rivalries that have developed within the same conference over the past two decades? (Boston Herald)
The Minnesota Wild were the first team to 40 points. They were the first to 20 wins. Yet still, the players want more. As Head Coach Mike Yeo says, “winners are never satisfied.” (Star Tribune)
Chris Chelios will be inducted to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday. At least he retired in time to be inducted before his 50th birthday. (Buffalo News)
A pair of NHLers are gearing up for Team Canada at this year’s World Junior Championships. Like they’re not strong enough already. (QMI Agency)
Spin-o-ramas are so November. Check out as Ryan Callahan starts a spin move and changes his mind after 180 degrees. Not a bad shorthanded goal from the Rangers captain. (NHL.com)