Pittsburgh Penguins fans got some potentially good news on Friday as captain Sidney Crosby participated in line rushes ahead of the Pens’ Game 5 matchup against the Washington Capitals.
Sidney Crosby took the ice with his Penguins teammates this morning during practice. pic.twitter.com/sh0lGwQu1T
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 5, 2017
Crosby’s health status for the rest of the second-round playoff series went up in the air after he was on the wrong end of an awkward cross-check from Capitals defensemen Matt Niskanen in Game 3. Niskanen was given a five-minute major on the play and ejected from the contest. However, he wasn’t further disciplined by the NHL.
Without Crosby, the Penguins managed to win Game 4 by a 3-2 score to take a commanding 3-1 series lead against the Eastern Conference powerhouse Capitals.
In a promising sign, Crosby told reporters that when he returns to the game, he’ll be ready to go.
Crosby: "Having gone thru this I'm aware of my body. I trust the staff and process. When I'm ready I'll be back." -SK
— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) May 5, 2017
The comments don’t guarantee a return, but the fact that he’s skating already is reason enough to give Penguins fans hope.
Crosby also offered his opinion on the Niskanen hit, admitting things happened so fast that it was hard to gauge what was going on.
Crosby on play that concussed him: Said Ovi slash was normal/trying to prevent a goal, and Niskanen things were just happening fast.
— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) May 5, 2017
Regardless of whether Crosby is ready to return, the Penguins should (and probably will) play things safe with his health. He’s suffered multiple concussions in his career, so there’s no reason to rush him back, especially with a 3-1 advantage in the series.
But if the Caps rebound to push the series to Game 7? Sure, maybe he could play then. But for now, let him heal and don’t rush the issue when it doesn’t need to be. Crosby’s health should be the number one priority.