Good news for owners of Pittsburgh Penguinstickets, team captain Sidney Crosby is cleared for contact. This, however, is bad news for the other teams in the National Hockey League. The 24-year-old center has played only eight games this season and his possible return before the start of the playoffs could bolster the title hopes of the Penguins.
Crosby, the former first overall pick of the Penguins back in 2005, has already participated in his first full practice with the team since concussion-like symptoms resurfaced back in December. Though his exact return date is not yet known, the progress that is being shown by the former Most Valuable Player is good in the eyes of Pittsburgh Penguins tickets owners. Crosby, a four-time all-star, backed that insisting that there is still no timetable on when he will be cleared to play in a regular season game. In his first practice with the team, Crosby looked crisp on ice while practicing for more than an hour.
During the early part of 2011, Crosby suffered numerous hits to his head in games against the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning. Due to the hits, Crosby experienced several concussion symptoms which eventually sidelined him for the rest of the 2010-2011 season. He had a 10-month layoff after that injury and returned to action only in November 21 of the current season. Crosby was spectacular in that game, scoring twice against the New York Islanders. In the eight games that he played this season, Crosby collected 12 points. On December 6, 2011, however, Crosby suffered the same symptoms he had earlier that year. From that point on, Crosby has had numerous treatments for his injury.
Even though Crosby has missed most of the season, the Penguinshave been able to stay afloat in the Easter Conference, ranking fourth in the conference standings. Pittsburgh is second behind the conference-leading New York Rangers in the Atlantic Division. Currently, the Penguins are the hottest team in the league having won six straight games. Since suffering a two-game losing streak in early February, Pittsburgh has now nine of their last 11 games.
Leading the charge for the Penguins in the absence of Crosby is MVP candidate Evgeni Malkin and also wingers Chris Kunitz and James Neal. Malkin, a former Rookie of the Year, still leads the league in points despite missing seven games for the Penguins. Kunitz and Neal, on the other hand, form arguably the league’s hottest line.
Combining the great play of Malkin, Kunitz, and Neal with the return of Crosby, Pittsburgh would now become the favorite to win the Stanley Cup. The Penguins is third in goals in per game this season and adding arguably the best offensive player in the league would really be scary. Like what was mentioned, Malkin is having an incredible season and combining him with Crosby could be way better than the Malkin-Crosby combination people saw when they won the title in 2009.
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