The Pittsburgh Penguins intra-squad scrimmage was not without the same gremlins which haunted the Penguins during the regular season. There were several standout performances in the two 25-minute period game, but also one note of concern. Team Black, which was loaded with the Penguins top two lines including Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and top defensive pair won 7-0, but the score matters far less than the news.
Crosby grabbed his stick and headed to the locker room early in the second half (there were two 25-minute halves). He did not return.
Initially, there was some question if it was an equipment issue, but Crosby’s continued absence raised questions.
However, Penguins winger Conor Sheary downplayed the absence. Sheary said he thought it was just a “maintenance thing.”
The NHL controls all injury information in Phase 3 and will handle it in Phase 4, too. Coaches are not permitted to discuss injuries, and may only say, “he’s unfit to play,” when a player is absent.
Head coach Mike Sullivan obeyed those rules.”
“As the league has put forth these rules, we’re not permitted to comment,” Sullivan said.
Crosby missed two months this season after he suffered a sports hernia and had core muscle surgery. He returned in mid-January and scored 47 points (16g, 31a) in just 41 games.
Crosby did score a goal in the scrimmage, as did linemate Jake Guentzel who scored two goals. Fellow linemate Conor Sheary had three assists.
The Penguins Black team, which included most of the stars and top players trounced the Gold team, 7-0. Matt Murray was in net for the Gold team, Tristan Jarry played behind the Black team.
Assistant coach Mark Recchi and Skill Coach Ty Hennes served as the officials. No penalties were called but there were a few clean hits, including one by Jack Johnson has he caught Sam Lafferty at center ice.
The Penguins have their first exhibition game on July 26 against the Philadelphia Flyers. The game will take place inside the NHL bubble city in Toronto, which includes the Scotiabank Arena. The Penguins begin the Qualifying Round series against the Montreal Canadiens on Aug. 1.
PHN will update the story if additional information about Sidney Crosby is made available.