Sidney Crosby: 5 Bold NHL Predictions for His 2011-2012 Season

Eron NoreContributor IIIOctober 4, 2011

Sidney Crosby: 5 Bold NHL Predictions for His 2011-2012 Season

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    It has been confirmed that Sidney Crosby will not be cleared for play in time for the season opener against the Vancouver Canucks. While that information seemed pretty evident, it does not diminish the optimism surrounding his ability to practice at a very high level for weeks.

    As time goes, we appear to get closer to the day when Crosby will be cleared for contact. After that goes well for a period of time, he will make his return to game competition.

    What happens past that is open to anyone's speculation, and I certain don't want to miss out on the fun. Basically, I've taken five predictions regarding Sid's season.

    These are all predictions that I 100% believe will happen. You may find bolder predictions regarding Sidney Crosby on the Internet, but chances are the people writing them don't even believe it.

    So dive right in and let me know if you have a prediction. Everything here is based on absolutely nothing but my opinion, so keep that in mind and take this for what it's worth.

The Return of Sidnecy Crosby Will Not Happen before Thanksgiving

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    While there is much to celebrate for Sid, there is a lot that has to happen before he returns to game action. For starters, practicing with contact.

    Many local media types, believe that even once he is cleared for contact that there will be differing levels. If he makes it through one week of a certain level of contact with no symptoms, then he will graduate to another level. Eventually, he will get to full contact all the time.

    Once he gets there, they will likely watch him for a period of time to be certain. Since he has not been cleared for contact yet, it seems like a stretch to think this will all take place for him to appear in a game before Thanksgiving.

He Will Be Allowed to Gradually Return to His Typical On-Ice Duties

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    Once Sid returns to the ice, his staff of doctors and the team will be sure to monitor him. While there may not be a "setback," there still may be times where he takes a night off after his return.

    There also will not be a need to throw him back in to top line minutes or first unit power play time from Game 1. The Penguins will be sure to try and protect Crosby from his own work ethic, as difficult as that will prove to be.

Sidney Crosby Will Average a Point a Game after His Return

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    Regardless of how much ice time Crosby sees upon his return, by the end of the season it will average out to a point per game. The only thing that stops me from setting a hard number of goals and points is the uncertainty over how many games he will be able to play this season.

He Will Lead the Penguins to the Eastern Conference Finals

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    Okay, this one may not solely be on Crosby. With Malkin and him performing at a high level as the team heads into the playoffs, they will be ready for a run deep into the spring.

Haters Still Gonna Hate

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    If you hated Sid before, when he comes back you will still find yourself frustrated by him. That should be good new for Philly, Detroit, New York Ranger fans and the league in general.

    While many of us will be happy to see him return, those of you that are not celebrating are just as important to hockey rating. Keep on watching and keep on hatin'. Sid won't mind at all.