After a couple of stops and starts, including an unscheduled day off yesterday due to “not feeling well”, Sidney Crosby finally took a major step forward in his recovery process by practicing in a full contact capacity with the Penguins today for the first time.
Even better, Crosby participated in the line rushes and with the team’s top power play group.
The #Pens just did two sets of line rushes. Crosby had Hornqvist on his right wing both times. He had McCann on his left wing the first time and Simon on his left wing the second time. -MC— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) January 11, 2020
Crosby got back on the ice on December 10th, following a sports hernia surgery completed on November 14th. At the time he was said to be out at least six weeks. It has been just over eight weeks since the surgery date.
The captain has been ramping up his activity, leaving many excited and hopeful to watch him gear up and get closer and closer to a return, including Mike Sullivan earlier this week.
"You can see him getting stronger with each day that he's out there." -- Mike Sullivan on Sidney Crosby nearing a return for the Penguins pic.twitter.com/Fn8vOrQwqX— Chase Williams (@chasepwilliams) January 10, 2020
After practice on Saturday, Mike Sullivan did not rule Crosby out for tomorrow’s game against Arizona, but of course the coach remained coy as ever and wouldn’t confirm that Crosby will play, which is probably to be expected.
Based on getting through a full contact practice, there aren’t many hurdles left for Crosby to need to jump until he is back in the lineup and playing in games. Typically once players are well enough to get that far in the process, assuming there’s no complications or issues that present themselves afterwards. That’s likely where the Pens and Crosby are now, just to make sure that all systems are go and his body responds the way is probably should be expected to.
The Pens finish up their three game road trip tomorrow in Arizona, then return home to play Minnesota on Tuesday night. Including the game that Sid got hurt the Pens are 18-6-4 in the 28 games he has been out. No team in the league has more points since then, but no doubt the team will be all too happy to add their captain back to the lineup. Now the only question is will it happen as soon as tomorrow. As of now that seems a pretty fair bet, but as always, stay tuned.