The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Pro

April 1, 2013

Penguins vow to continue strong play without Crosby

PITTSBURGH — The streaking Pittsburgh Penguins have lost their captain.

But that’s OK, they say. Not only have the Penguins grown accustomed to playing without Sidney Crosby in recent years, they also just traded for two other team captains.

Pittsburgh went through its first practice Monday since learning that NHL scoring leader Crosby underwent surgery for a broken jaw that will keep him out indefinitely.

Winners of 15 consecutive games, two shy of the NHL record for longest winning streak, the Penguins insist they can keep rolling without the face of their franchise.

“Obviously, it’s a huge loss and the way Sid’s been playing has been unbelievable,” winger James Neal said. “Losing him stinks, but at the same time we’ve got some good depth on this team and that gives a chance for some guys to step up, and definitely for some new guys we just acquired to step up.

“I’m sure we’ll be OK.”

Pittsburgh’s streak will be on the line tonight against Buffalo.

Crosby was still hospitalized early Monday while his team went through a lengthy and spirited practice. It was the first time Jarome Iginla practiced with Pittsburgh after he was acquired from the Calgary Flames early Thursday. He made his Penguins game debut during Saturday’s 2-0 win over the New York Islanders.

It was during Crosby’s first shift of that game that he was struck in the mouth by a puck from Brooks Orpik’s slap shot that was deflected into an unsuspecting Crosby.

Crosby had dental work performed in addition to facial surgery and the repairing of his jaw. The team also said there would be additional procedures performed this week.

“You talk about family and our team, we learn about a string of players going over to visit Sidney, people over yesterday at the hospital seeing him,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “I don’t sense there’s any type of heads down in the room or that type of situation.”

In the week before Crosby was knocked out, the Penguins added former Flames captain Iginla and former Stars captain Brenden Morrow as well as eight-year veteran defenseman Douglas Murray via trade. Pittsburgh also welcomed back reigning league MVP Evgeni Malkin after he missed 13 of 16 games due to an upper body injury.

Even before Crosby went down, the Penguins learned they would be without their top two defensemen. Kris Letang is day to day with a lower body injury – he skated on his own before practice Monday – and Paul Martin is out four to six weeks after breaking an unspecified bone in his upper body. Martin had surgery Sunday.

“We’ve lost some players... who aren’t with us on the ice right now, but there are capable guys in that room who are ready to go,” Bylsma said. “You saw that last game. ... Guys ready to go who know how to play and are ready to play in their absence. We saw that last game, and we’ll see it going forward.”

Crosby holds a 10-point lead in the NHL scoring race with 56 points. While he has not yet missed a game this season, the 25-year-old was limited to 22 regular-season games over the previous two calendar years because of concussion and neck issues associated with hits he sustained during consecutive games in January 2011.

As painful as this jaw and mouth injury might be, there appears to be no long-term danger to Crosby or any suspicion he will be out for an extended period – meaning multiple months. Bylsma reiterated Monday there was no indication of any concussion symptoms for Crosby at this time.

The playoffs begin April 30.

“It’s a contact sport, that little black thing, that puck, it’s a really hard piece of rubber, and it caught him right in the right spot and it’s unfortunate,” linemate Pascal Dupuis said. “But if you look at it ... if you look at Sid, he came back (from the long absence) and played well.

“And now, it’s not a setback. It’s an injury we know he will come back 100 percent from it.”

During practice, Tyler Kennedy was slotted into Crosby’s spot as the Penguins’ No. 1 center between Dupuis and Chris Kunitz. Iginla remained on a line with Malkin and Neal, and Morrow was still with Brandon Sutter and Matt Cooke.

“We’re just trying to keep doing what we’re doing and keep playing the same way,” Sutter said. “Obviously, Sid’s a pretty special player here, but it’s an opportunity for someone – or a couple guys – to step up.

“And we’ve still got Evgeni Malkin, the MVP. I think we’ll be all right. No one needs to change their game.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Pro
  • Penguins 0423 Blue Jackets rally from 3-0 deficit to take down Penguins

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0423 Reds continue to dominate slumping Bucs

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates cut down by Reds’ Cueto

    April 23, 2014

  • Penguins 0422 Blown leads are troubling trend in series

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0421 Penguins finish hot to grab 2-1 series lead

    Brandon Sutter, Lee Stempniak and Jussi Jokinen scored in a span of 2:13 of the third period to revive the Penguins from yet another two-goal deficit in a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0421 Pirates walk off against Reds to halt home skid

    Ike Davis became the first player to hit grand slams for different teams in the same April, and Neil Walker had a winning run single with two outs in the ninth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates twice overcame deficits to beat the Reds 6-5 Monday night.
    Pittsburgh trailed 2-0 before Davis’ fourth-inning homer off Mike Leake.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates Brawl 0420 Brewers top Pirates in game highlighted by dustup

    Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.
    Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0420a Game 3 pivotal for both teams

    Not so long ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets were the worst team in the NHL.
    Now they’re heading home for tonight’s Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins, hoping to make even more history.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0419 Blue Jackets outlast Pens in double-OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
    Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stuffed the initial shot by Cam Atkinson but Calvert stood all alone at the left post and wristed a shot into the open net to even the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at one game each.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0419 Brewers rally to clip Pirates

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads