I, for one, am glad that we will no longer have to see constant interviews and media scrums questioning Crosby's availability, health, stamina, head-aches, black outs, dry-skin, foot odor, and the occasional not so fresh feeling he sometimes gets. It is time to put away the rumors and conjecture regarding his ability to bounce back, his wasted potential due to injury, and the idea that he would prematurely retire. I'm not going to compare this to when Lemieux fought through injury after injury, as well as beating cancer to come back on the ice because it isn't the same thing. But for this generation of Pens fans (and the hockey world as a whole) it is pretty darn close. Love him or hate him, there is no denying the impact Sid has made on the game in his short NHL career.
(More on this card here later)
So now that he is back, the struggling Pens can finally get back on track. I mean, there was no way they could have won without him, right? WRONG!! The Pens have been playing some of the best hockey in the entire league through the first 20 games, going 11-6-3. They are tied with Philly for the most points in the East. My questions now center around one central theme, How long is it going to take? How long to get his legs under him? How long to get back to the elite level? How long before his line gels with him? How long before will be blasted into the boards for the first time? Is he going to hear footsteps every time he goes after a puck? And most importantly...will he ever learn to grow facial hair correctly?
The first game back should be a good test to see where he is health-. The Islanders are basically back to, well, Islander hockey. They have won two games in the last 13 including a 6-0 shellacking against the Bruins on Saturday. With all the issues they have been having, it should make for an interesting matchup. I'm not going to be the leader of the Lord Stanley chant any time soon but I can't help to think of how much better the Pens might look going forward. (barring another injury, of course.)