The Kid is hurt.
The world stood still when Sidney Crosby got up and limped off his injury right to the dressing room. An innocent-looking play on a trip took him on a journey into the boards and straight to the injured reserve list for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The image of him being helped off the ice directly after he suffered the high ankle sprain remains painfully in the fans' minds. This could be a true testament of his impact on the team.
20 goals, 43 assists, 63 points. Of the 135 goals scored by the Penguins, Crosby was involved with 63 of them. It's time for the real Penguins to rise and shine. I've had discussions (read: screaming matches) with some colleagues of mine over the impact of Crosby and his absence's possible effects on the team.
I'm going to go the opposite direction of most critics and state this: It's going to be fine.
Yes, I said it is going to be fine. Why would I say this?
Because I believe that the team has learned a lot from Sid in many ways. The line of Armstrong, Malkin, and Crosby is now a little modified, of course, with Sid missing. But have no fear. In last night's 6-5 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals, goals were scored by Evgeni Malkin (twice), Maxim Talbot, Ryan Malone, and Petr Sykora.
So I say: no sweat.
Dany Sabourin carried the team on his shoulders the other night against Montreal in a 2-0 shutout win the day after losing Crosby. He did the same in the game against the Lightning 3-0 with Ty Conklin in the net.
Then again, Sabourin was pulled last night in the game against the Caps after he let in four goals on 13 shots in a period and a half. Conklin to the rescue! He allowed one goal on 17 shots, and missed two saves on three shooters.
OK, so 20 shots and three goals compared to four goals on 13 shots, Conklin is still looking good. Come on—why wasn't Olaf pulled when he allowed four goals on less than 10 shots?
Sabourin was not to blame, Conklin wasn't either, and the Penguins' offense wasn't either. They were facing a hot Washington Capitals team. Yes, hot. Semin, Ovechkin, and Backstrom, were all carrying the team onward to bury the hatchet of what has been a rocky few seasons for the team. 7-2-1 in their last ten, the Capitals are on a roll and the Penguins got in their way.
I don't think that scoring five goals against the Caps proves anything or calls for people saying, "Oh, if Crosby were here..." I honestly think Crosby would have replaced himself into the scorers’ sheet in place of Talbot and Malone!
The impact is still yet to be seen, but give it a few more games; we'll wait and see whether or not this will truly hurt the Pens. A three-way tie for first in the Atlantic Division, and it's thanks to the 2-0 shutout over the Canadiens on Saturday. So, give it some thought, because I have. And I think that the points Crosby would have put up in the last two games were there but have found new names.
He has taught them well in the past two seasons. It shows now that he is missing from the lineup in the past two games, and I believe it will become a trend.
But regardless, the Penguins are still a force to be reckoned with.
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