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Sidney Crosby Back On the Ice in Practice

No real reason, I just like this picture, which was taken December 20, 2010.  (feels like forever, huh?)
No real reason, I just like this picture, which was taken December 20, 2010. (feels like forever, huh?)

Via twitter:

#Pens captain Crosby is on the ice with his teammates for the start of practice at Bank Atlantic Center in Florida.

Now it's important not to read too much into this, but Sidney Crosby skated with the team yesterday and was scheduled to return for tomorrow's game day skate.  That he is able to join for a practice is just another step in the progression, and another sign Crosby has successfully passed yesterday's test.

Just two days ago Pens GM Ray Shero said this regarding Crosby re-joining a regular practice:

That will be the plan, just to get him in the morning skates, just to see how he responds to that. Over the last three weeks or so, he’s got his off-ice plan that he’s been doing. He’s got certain things that he does off the ice, certain exercises – and he does those. He’s tolerated them well. I’ve dealt with Dr. Collins and Dr. Burke at this point – both with Sid and my son – so I have a pretty good idea as to where he is. I keep saying progression – but it is part of the therapy and part of the progression to see how he handles certain things when they’re introduced to him. So far, they’ve been pretty good.

Shero was quick to note that the progress, while encouraging, isn't an indication the Pens have any grand plan for a return:

But as I’ve said, not to get the expectation out there that were counting on him to be back any time soon. That’s not the expectation

Why are the Pens outwardly cautious, despite the tangible steps Crosby has taken in the past few weeks?

Firstly, to stop any of the rumors.  A few weeks ago Sidney Crosby was supposedly considering retirement, according to the rumor mill.  He also, depending on who you believed, had a cyst on his spine, an actively bleeding brain, cancer or any number of assorted maladies.  All of this is untrue.

Now that Crosby is starting to skate speculation is swirling- is Sid coming back for the final home game?  Will he play in the regular season finale?  Or for game 1 of the playoffs?

The truth is no one knows.

Most important is the team go at a slow pace.  They need to listen to Crosby, who in turn has to Crosby listen to his body and his doctors.  That has taken place.  The Pens are handling this very cautiously and letting it play it's course, as they ought to with any players, but especially so for the franchise's most important one.  There is no "grand plan" or target date, Crosby will be back when he's able to.

The Penguins don't know when Crosby will return, but everyone's excited (perhaps overly so) that he has been able to advance his work rate, now to the point of skating in consecutive days with the team.  He won't be in the lineup immediately, but today represents another positive step in that direction.  For Penguins fans, that's about all you need to read into it.