Now that the Pittsburgh Penguins season is underway, hockey fans everywhere now watch for the return of Sidney Crosby. It seems possible that he could be cleared for contact in practice before the end of the month.
While it is easy to think of how much better things will be when Sid returns, overall, the Penguins fanbase is not panicking or stressing. Fans of other teams may ask, "why?"
The simple answer is that many Pens fans have been through this before, and not just with Crosby. Many of us learned how to pace our emotional investment in the team during the Mario Lemieux era.
We have watched so many games without Lemieux (and to a much lesser extent Crosby) that we approach the border of delusion. On many occasions, I have convinced myself, or heard someone say that "they play better without Lemieux/Crosby because the team doesn't stand around watching them do everything."
While that is exaggerated, the fact that many Penguins teams have kept things together during the absence of the star is not. Look no further than last season for proof.
The second half of the season saw Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and just about anyone else that could skate miss time due to injury. Multiple players were called up from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton farm team and the team still finished with 106 points.
This certainly is not to suggest that anyone in the team or fanbase is indifferent to Crosby's return, just that nobody is hitting the panic button. There are a few reason why, check them out.