Cranberry, Twp — Sidney Crosby was again a full participant at Pittsburgh Penguins practice on Monday morning. One day removed from the beleaguered Penguins blowout victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, Crosby participated in his second consecutive practice.
However, Crosby did not participate in the 5v5 drills in practice. Instead, he remained on the bench. Crosby did participate in the power play drills and others. Crosby subbed in for Danton Heinen on the second power-play unit. Evan Rodrigues remained in the middle of PP1.
Update: later in practice, Crosby did center a line between Danton Heinen and Jason Zucker/Drew O’Connor. Crosby also participated in faceoff practice against Brian Boyle.
Crosby is definitely at full speed.
The Penguins captain and likely captain of Team Canada during the 2022 Beijing Olympics has not yet played this season after undergoing wrist surgery in mid-September.
On Friday, Crosby discussed the surgery in vague details but admitted the injury first occurred seven years ago when he tried to hit Ryan Reaves (then of the St. Louis Blues) at center ice. The wrist injury lingered until finally it did not respond to rehab and rest this summer.
“The first time I ever injured it was seven years ago. Reavo (Ryan Reaves) got a hold of me pretty good at home here after the Olympics, and it was something I have kind of had to manage since then, and I was able to avoid having to do any surgery or anything like that until last year,” said Crosby on Friday.
Sidney Crosby does not yet have a firm return date and wants to reach a few more benchmarks and game simulated situations that put pressure on his wrist, before returning.
Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:
Friedman-Ruhwedel (Riikola switched in a few times)
Top Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was absent from practice. He was placed in the NHL COVID protocol on Saturday. Head coach Mike Sullivan seemed somewhat hopeful that it was a false positive, like Tristan Jarry’s test last week. However, after practice Sullivan confirmed Letang’s positive results and that Letang is in protocol.
Penguins center Jeff Carter was also absent from practice. He, too, remains in the NHL COVID protocol. Symptomatic players must remain in the protocol for 10 days or more. An asymptomatic player must test negative twice before returning but does not have a mandated length of protocol absence.
Sullivan said on Friday that he believes Carter is asymptomatic. Letang’s symptom status is currently unknown. He is the fourth Penguins player to enter the protocol this season.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, without their top players, embarrassed the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. The Hockey Night in Canada audience witnessed the Penguins 7-1 win, which touched off a flurry of hand wringing columns in Toronto media.