He’s back: Sidney Crosby to play Monday night

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Crosby Watch is over and now we can just watch Crosby.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will return to action on Monday night against the New York Islanders. It’ll be the first game Crosby has played since January 5 against Tampa Bay with a concussion and for the Penguins, they’ll finally get to see what life is like with a fully healthy and capable lineup. The Penguins’ careful concussion rehab with Crosby is about to pay off.

Crosby rejoins his team with the Penguins sitting tied atop the Eastern Conference with the Flyers and the Pens showing a tougher dedication to defense. Adding Crosby back to the lineup gives the Penguins an offensive lift unlike what any team could add. What will prove to be fascinating is seeing how Sid responds to coming back.

Crosby returns to a Penguins lineup that sees a lot of familiar faces still there but also has a gift awaiting him in the team’s top goal scorer in James Neal. If Crosby returns playing the way he did when he went out last season, Neal and the rest of the Penguins are going to get a huge lift and increases in their stats. Crosby was on a pace steamroll his way to a scoring title before being knocked out of action by Victor Hedman.

Seeing Sid come back in a game against the Islanders in Pittsburgh also sets things up for him to get off to a roaring start given how bad the Islanders have played this season.

Crosby coming back to action now also provides a welcome lift of good news after all the miserable news that’s plagued hockey the last few months. With Alex Ovechkin slumping in Washington, Crosby has the chance to give that superstar spark the Penguins and the league needs.