Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was absent from the Penguins practice on Sunday morning, one day after he left the intra-squad scrimmage early in the second period and did not return.
Per league rules, coaches and the organization are not permitted to comment on injuries. The only term which coaches can use is “unfit to play.”
Crosby’s absence and Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan’s declination to comment clearly points to an injury, however minor it may be. Crosby grabbed his stick and walked to the locker room early in the second period without signs of distress or pain.
Multiple people and journalists close to the Penguins have downplayed the injury, as team sources have been quick to spread the news and quell fears.
No Sid today, but I'm told it's not a problem. Nonetheless, you can panic if you like.
— Mark Madden (@MarkMaddenX) July 19, 2020
At practice Sunday morning, the Penguins did not shuffle their lines to replace Crosby. Head coach Mike Sullivan simply placed extra forward Evan Rodrigues between Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary.
While no one is permitted to comment specifically, Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin did address the larger issue.
“It’s something we’ve done all this year. We’ve never really had a full lineup,” he said. “A lot of times, you don’t have time to think about it. It’s important to just stay focused and maintain our direction. We have a really, really deep team.”
In Patric Hornqvist’s absence, Rodrigues has battled Sam Lafferty for a spot in the Penguins lineup. Lafferty had a standout game in the Penguins intra-squad scrimmage, according to detailed scrimmage analysis from our Editor-in-Chief, Dan Kingerski.
The Penguins lines on Sunday:
Guentzel – Rodrigues – Sheary
Zucker – Malkin – Rust
Marleau – McCann – Lafferty
Aston-Reese – Blueger – Tanev
Dumoulin – Letang
Pettersson – Marino
Johnson – Schultz
Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz scored on a sharp wrist shot later in the scrimmage. Jake Guentzel scored a pair of goals. Penguins stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang also scored. Sam Lafferty scored, as well.
The Penguins will break Phase 3 training camp on July 26 and play the Philadelphia Flyers on July 28, inside the NHL “bubble” in Toronto. The Pittsburgh Penguins face the Montreal Canadiens in the Qualifying Round beginning on Aug. 1. All of the Penguins Qualifying Round games are at 8 p.m.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now will have full coverage. Look for an official announcement from PHN later Sunday night.