The results of preseason hockey couldn’t have less meaning, but somehow the Penguins managed to lose in a potentially meaningful way in their exhibition finale on Saturday.
Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust both left the game early due to blocking shots and were unable to return to the game.
After the game coach Mike Sullivan offered a vague non-update update for the status of both.
Coach Sullivan on Crosby and Rust: "They both got hit with shots. They are being evaluated now. We will probably have more definitive answers tomorrow morning."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) September 28, 2019
Without reading too much into Sullivan’s words, it was a pretty standard non-answer to provide in the immediate aftermath of a game.
The Pens regular season starts Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres. Obviously the status of Rust and of course especially Crosby will be of paramount importance. If either can attend practice without skipping a beat this week, that will provide more answers about their status than Sullivan’s coach-speak.
If they are absent — as fellow top-six player Alex Galchenyuk has been missing as well in recent days — that would raise an eyebrow.
Crosby was hit in the lower leg area with a shot in the first period and departed soon after. Rust was struck in the glove with a shot in the third period and left the bench as well.
It had been a pretty uneventful preseason for Pittsburgh, who didn’t have a lot of roster drama or any dramatically great or poor performances this September. Hopefully that continues if this blows over with no real further impact.