Mike Sullivan effectively put rumors surrounding Sidney Crosby’s status to bed this morning, confirming that the Captain will sit out for up to a week to nurse an upper-body injury.
As we alluded to on the site yesterday, it was likely suffered during the Penguins’ loss against the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night. Sullivan eliminated the possibility of a concussion, so it could be a minor shoulder tweak or something similar.
Assistant coach Mark Recchi slotted in for Crosby during Wednesday’s practice, but the forward lines will obviously see a light shake up. Derek Grant was already called up prior to the news break as a fail-safe for Crosby, and will likely be utilized on the fourth line with Garrett Wilson and Zach Aston-Reese, bumping up Matt Cullen to third line center duties, Riley Sheahan to second, and Evgeni Malkin to first.
Tanner Pearson, fresh off the plane from California, will an an opportunity to make a quick name for himself. Sullivan has some interesting roster decisions to make, and there’s opportunity for Pearson to take advantage, especially with the added notion that he’ll need to be paired with a skilled centerman.
Will Sully keep Dominik Simon and Bryan Rust on the top line with Malkin (probably not), or “demote” them to second line duties alongside Riley Sheahan? Who will get to play with Malkin, Phil Kessel or Patric Hornqvist? Winger roles will be a key storyline coming into tonight, and I’m sure we’ll also see some mixing up during the game itself.
Fortunately, at least, this wasn’t a concussion and should only be about a week, so it’s a positive to know this is a minor injury. The Pens’ center depth will be tested with Crosby hurt, even for a short time. Derick Brassard remains out as well, though he is skating and could be on a similar type of return path as Crosby. The schedule is also tough, with games every other day for the next week. Crosby could potentially miss 3-4 total games with this ailment.