The Sidney Crosby wait, which appeared to be imminently coming to close, will have to continue until at least Thursday. Crosby and the Pens announced this weekend that contrary to previous statements he would not play Sunday against the Bruins.
Well neither Crosby nor the Pens would ever admit it; it appears they eventually thought the better of having Sid the Kid return to play against the big bad Bruins. Instead the Penguins say 87, needs a few more hard practices in him before he can return to the rigours of an NHL stretch drive.
Certainly, it appears that the Bruins factored heavily into the decision. It is nonsensical to have someone who has had such concussion trouble return to play his first game back against the most physical team in the league. Optically, the Penguins made a large blunder by announcing that Crosby would return against the Bruins, as now by recanting it appears that the Kid and the organization are running scared. With a little foresight the Penguins never would have mused about Sunday being an option in the first place and they thus could have avoided such conclusions.
Adding to the quizzical nature of the situation is that the Penguins have won nine games in a row and do not seem to be in desperate need of the services of Mr. Crosby. Crosby returning to the lineup would bump somebody out and require the lines to be reshuffled. While one could certainly find a spot for Sidney, there is no point messing around with something running so smoothly.
The Penguins following game is against the Rangers on Thursday a game that could easily be for the Atlantic Division and by corollary Eastern Conference lead as the Penguins are currently only four points behind the slumping New York Rangers. Logic may dictate playing Crosby in such an important game.
However, if his return was delayed due to the Bruins vicious nature, should he return against a physical, desperate, motivated Rangers team in a game with key playoff implications?
The Penguins are currently doing very well; where they will need Crosby is not the regular season, but rather the playoffs. With this in mind and acknowledging that seven regular season games would be sufficient for Crosby to return to form, the date of Crosby’s return should be March 27th the start of a home an home with the Islanders. Recall how well he did in his last return against those same Islanders.
Is this an agonizingly slow timetable? Yes, but the entire process has been so, why deviate now?