Sidney Crosby is back, finally. The Penguins captain missed the last 28 games due to core muscle surgery, otherwise known as a sports hernia. He had surgery in mid-November, but the Penguins have ground their way to an astounding 18-6-4 record in his absence.
Crosby confirmed he will be in the lineup Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena against the Minnesota Wild.
“Yeah, I’m playing tonight,” Crosby said. “It feels good to be back in the lineup.”
Crosby had to laugh at the initial hardball question which came from our friend Jim Colony at 93-7 The Fan, who simply asked, “So, what have you got?”
At the time of his injury, Crosby had 17 points (5g, 12a) and was the Penguins leader scorer.
The Penguins have done more than tread water since Crosby was injured. They’ve not only stacked wins but defied everyone’s expectations. Center Evgeni Malkin also did more than his part. Malkin figured in 41% of the Penguins goals since Crosby left the ice on Nov. 9 against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Penguins also received stellar goaltending from goalie Tristan Jarry who is tied for the league lead with a .932 save percentage and leads the league with a 2.08 goals against average. Jarry earned his first trip to the NHL All-Star Game, Jan. 24-25 in St. Louis.
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang will captain the Metro Division All-Star squad. Crosby has been gone so long, that his buddy Letang, slipped.
“It’s nice to see new faces, er, old faces back,” Letang laughed.
Overall, the Penguins have surged to second place in the Metro Division, ahead of the New York Islanders. Eight different players already have 10 or more goals. All of last season, the Penguins had eight players reach that mark.
Sidney Crosby and the Penguins face the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena.