Debut denied: Sidney Crosby will not play this weekend

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Word has come down from Penguins practice that Sidney Crosby will not play this weekend in either of Pittsburgh’s games — Friday at home against Dallas, Saturday in Carolina against the Hurricanes.

Head coach Dan Bylsma addressed the media today and informed everyone that No. 87’s return is still on hold, and that it’s medically up to the doctors to decide when his return should occur. “We are not keeping a secret,” Bylsma said. “He is going to play and we’ll make sure to let you know.”

It’s something of a surprise given many speculated the Nov. 11 affair versus the Stars would be the date of Crosby’s return — although not everyone shared that opinion.

Yesterday, I wrote about a tidbit from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune, who reported “the only thing I’ve heard from people close to this situation is that the least ideal situation is for Crosby to return in a back-to-back games situation.” In light of today’s announcement, sounds as though Rossi’s sources were spot on.

Now the focus turns to Tuesday night, when the Penguins host the Avalanche at the Consol Energy Center.

The game will have big television exposure (to be shown on both Versus and TSN2) with the potential for even bigger offense. The Avs often engage in high-scoring games on the road, including their 7-1 win in Ottawa, 6-5 shootout loss in Montreal, 5-4 shootout win in Chicago and 7-6 overtime loss in Dallas.

If Crosby doesn’t return against Colorado, here are Pittsburgh’s next five games:

Thu, Nov. 17 at Tampa Bay

Sat, Nov. 19 at Florida

Mon, Nov. 21 vs. New York Islanders

Wed, Nov. 23 vs. St. Louis

Fri, Nov. 25 vs. Ottawa

The Penguins also play in Montreal on Sat, Nov. 26 — against Crosby’s boyhood team, the Canadiens.