Six weeks, huh? Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was at full stride on Saturday morning during the Penguins morning skate before the team departed for Columbus and their final preseason game.
The PHN-filmed clip shows Crosby at full steam taking shots as part of a team activity. It marks the first time he has done so since a mid-September wrist surgery, which the team expected to keep him out of the lineup for six weeks.
The team also released photos of Crosby shooting on third-goalie Louis Domingue before assigning Domingue to the WBS Penguins on Friday.
Last week, Crosby was one of three players preemptively named to the Team Canada roster for the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Offseason ad campaign photos of Crosby in his Team Canada sweater also may have given a hint to his coming role with Team Canada, too. The Tim Horton photos of Crosby and co-pitchman Nathan MacKinnon showed a “C” on Crosby’s sweater.
Crosby, 34, scored more than a point per game in the COVID shortened 2020-21 season. He scored 24 goals and 62 points in 55 games.
The six-week expected absence meant Crosby would miss approximately five regular-season games.
PHN expects comment from head coach Mike Sullivan following the skate.
The Pittsburgh Penguins face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night at Nationwide Arena. It is the team’s final preseason game. The team has a scheduled off-day on Sunday and begins the NHL regular season on Tuesday against Tampa Bay at Amalie Arena. The game is the first of the NHL’s regular season, will be televised on the league’s new TV partner, ESPN, and feature the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Stanley Cup banner raising.
Penguins winger Zach Aston-Reese also joined the team for the first time since joining the COVID protocol nearly two weeks ago. Aston-Reese, nor Crosby, are in the lineup for the Penguins game on Saturday night.
On Friday, Sullivan said he didn’t yet know if Aston-Reese would be available for the team’s season opener.
“He’s been around, but no one else on the ice…so that’s a big step forward,” Jeff Carter smiled. “It’s a good sign.”
Sullivan didn’t specifically admit or deny that Crosby is ahead of schedule. The Penguins captain will make the trip with the team to the state of Florida for the games against Tampa Bay and Florida.
The Penguins coach also said Aston-Reese has been medically cleared to rejoin the team and is out of protocol.