The Pittsburgh Penguins must be delighted that Evgeni Malkin is showing signs of being Evgeni Malkin again. Even so, the team’s ceiling will rise to undeniable Stanley Cup contender heights if Sidney Crosby can be reasonably healthy during the 2011-12 season.
Crosby still has quite a way to go before that happens – the Penguins center continues to wear a white “no contact” helmet in practices – but many are heartened by the news that he participated in a “controlled scrimmage” today. The Associated Press reports that this represented Crosby’s first five-on-five exposure since training camp started, as he took face-offs and executed set plays in even strength situations.
For the most part, he’s been pushing himself hard in workouts, but there’s no clear time table on when he might risk taking contact again. Either way, this seems like a reason for optimism. Crosby, for one, seems excited about his progress.
“Everything’s been really good,” Crosby said. “I haven’t ran into any issues so far so it’s been pretty smooth.”
Crosby has worked relentlessly during the first week of camp during drills, often to the point of exhaustion.
“I think it’s been a lot of fun just being out there and competing and doing typical things you’re used to doing as a hockey player,” he said.
We’ll have to wait and see how much longer he’ll have to wait to be a hockey player in a regular season game again, though.