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Merry Christmas, now when will the Penguins get the real present? (Sidney Crosby)

Looking at the captain and a possible return path

NHL: NOV 09 Blackhawks at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone out there from all of us at Pensburgh!

Tomorrow will mark six weeks from November 14th.

So, what does that mean?

Sidney Crosby had his surgery on that day, to which the team announced being out “at least six weeks” officially.

Crosby has been skating on his own since December 10th as he gears up for his eventual return.

When could that be?

The schedule offers some hints. The NHL as a league is on day two of a three day holiday break today. Overall Pittsburgh doesn’t play again until Friday when they go to Nashville. Then the Penguins and Predators play again, this time in Pittsburgh on Saturday night. The Pens aren’t scheduled to practice until Sunday due to all of that.

Will Crosby return then with the team? There’s no official announcement, but it seems like a pretty good possibility for him to take the next step in his rehabilitation.

After that Sunday practice, the Pens play at home against the Ottawa Senators next Monday (the 30th). That would seem to be a very quick turnaround for Crosby to rejoin the lineup, and given the team is likely to give the 32-year old veteran more time than less, probably too quick a turnaround given that he will only have one practice (at most) before the Ottawa game.

After the Sens game, the Pens don’t play again until the next Thursday (January 2nd), at home against the San Jose Sharks. It’s probably fair to have this game circled, at least in pencil, for what makes some logical sense as a potential Crosby return. Beyond that, the Pens play again on the road in Montreal on Saturday January 4th and back at home against Florida on Sunday the 5th. Will Crosby be back by then at least? We’ll see how it goes, but given the typical recovery from the hockey “hernia” (really a groin) type of surgery it certainly points to the fact that the captain is trending towards a return sometime in early 2020 if he starts practicing with the team on Sunday.

But the first step for that return will be the reappearance at a full team practice, so we’ll see if that actually does go down on Sunday. If so, it’ll be the best belated Christmas present that the Penguins and their fans could get.