Just when you thought things couldn't get worse for the New York Islanders, this breaking news came out. The Islanders have had their own problem with injuries, but in net. Now they will face a bigger challenge tomorrow night as Sidney Crosby makes his return.
Here is a sample from Twitter.
@stevezipaySteve ZipayJust what Isles need: Sidney Crosby returns tomorrow night
@brodiebrazilCSNBrodie BrazilSidney Crosby will return tomorrow to the#pens lineup. Would you be scared to hit him (purpose or accidentally)?
@simmonsstevesteve simmonsSidney Crosby coming back against the New York Islanders Monday. He'll be cleared to play against real teams after that.
@StephenBrooks71Stephen BrooksSidney Crosby is FINALLY coming back on the ice tomorrow!.. About time. #pens
@wyshynskiGreg Wyshynski New Puck Daddy: He’s back: Sidney Crosby returns to Penguins’ lineup Monday yhoo.it/szuiIm
@espnESPN The holiday season's come early for Penguins fans. Sidney Crosby will return tomorrow night: es.pn/so55mC
@TPN_AtleighAshleigh L"We interupt your regular scheduled programming for this: Sidney Crosby is returning to the game for the first time in 11 months." - CBC.
Crosby had been sidelined for the second half of the 2011 NHL season and every game so far this year. He had undergone a battery of tests conducted by skilled doctors and concussion specialists. Today he was finally cleared for in-game action after previously being cleared for light contact and practice.
This is good news for the Penguins and the NHL. Love him or hate him, Crosby is good for the league's business. He is the NHL's poster child and is a primary spokesman for Reebok. It is also good to see that he may be able to play the game he loves with no other symptoms.
Other notable players like Marc Savard and Marc Staal are currently sidelined indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms. Hopefully the same steps taken in Crosby's situation can be applied to both Staal and Savard.
The league is constantly learning new things about concussions and head trauma injuries. The introduction of baseline testing after a rigorous hit shakes up a player can help minimize repeat concussions and symptoms.
All eyes will be on Crosby tomorrow night. The Penguins have been off to a hot start without him and are thrilled to have him back.
The Penguins will go into the contest with a record of 11-6-3 (25 points) for second overall in the division. The Islanders sit at the bottom of the division with a record of 5-9-3 (19 points).
One has to wonder if Crosby will be a bit rusty or cautious. Until he takes his first hit and bump he will likely be skating on egg shells.
Will the Islanders play more physically tomorrow night? Will someone be brazen enough to try and shake up Crosby?
How will Pittsburgh protect their star player and captain? This story is in its early stages, so check back on the Bleacher Report NHL page.
Leave a comment or question in the section below to get the conversation started.
Tom Urtz Jr. is an NHL Featured Columnist and New York Rangers Featured Columnist. For NHL news, updates and alerts about players: