Sidney Crosby Injury: Pittsburgh's Depth Will Keep Penguins in First Place

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IMarch 31, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 28: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chris Kunitz #14 of the Pittsburgh Penguins talk prior to a faceoff during the third period on February 28, 2013 at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Vincent Pugliese/ Getty Images)
Vincent Pugliese/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins didn't plan on Sidney Crosby getting injured, but the team is more than prepared to continue winning without its star center in the lineup.

Crosby took a puck to the face on March 30 against the New York Islanders, losing "numerous teeth," which required surgery, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Josh Yohe:

As of Sunday, March 31, Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that the Penguins didn't have any update on Crosby's condition:

It's not yet known if Crosby's recent injury will keep him out of Pittsburgh's lineup for an extended period of time. With that said, general manager Ray Shero's recent move to acquire right winger Jarome Iginla will allow the Penguins to continue winning games, no matter how long Crosby is out. 

Obviously, no one player can account for Crosby's contributions to Pittsburgh's offense. With 56 points, Crosby leads the league in scoring—10 points ahead of the next-best scorer, Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning

No. 3 on that list, though, is Pittsburgh left winger Chris Kunitz, who has scored 44 points on 20 goals and 24 assists. 

The overall depth that Shero has built into Pittsburgh's roster is the biggest reason the Penguins won't drop in the standings, though, no matter how long Crosby is out. Nine other players on the roster have scored 10 or more points this season. 

Nobody can replace Crosby, but as a whole, this team has what it takes to continue winning without him. It's a luxury few teams can afford, but Pittsburgh won't feel any rush to return Crosby to the starting lineup.

With a comfortable seven-point lead in the Eastern Conference over the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh won't drop down in the standings while he recovers. 

This team is built for a deep playoff run. The smart move would be to give Crosby as much time as he needs to get healthy.

As long as he's ready for the playoffs, Pittsburgh will be one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup in 2013. 

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