Penguins Sidney Crosby could make season debut against Devils; game-time decision

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been minus some key players all season and it seems to be catching up with them as they head into their first Metropolitan Division game, Saturday against the visiting New Jersey Devils.

Fortunately for Pittsburgh, help could be coming. Team captain and top center Sidney Crosby could make his season debut after September wrist surgery, and veteran forward Jeff Carter is out of COVID-19 protocol and also could play Saturday.

Both were full participants Friday at practice, and Penguins coach Mike Sullivan upgraded them to game-time decisions for Saturday.

Sidney Crosby game-time decision

“As of right now, [Jeff Carter] status would be a game-time decision,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “We’re certainly really encouraged with what we saw today. Sid is a similar circumstance. He will be a game-time decision tomorrow as well. But certainly, we were really encouraged by his practice today.”

The Penguins captain is recovering from wrist surgery that took place on Sept. 8. Crosby, 34, has been practicing which is a great sign for his return.

“My 6-year-old at home is excited for whenever [Crosby] can get back on the ice,” forward Brian Boyle said. “He was disappointed last night. … I got him a Penguins jersey. He turned it around. I saw the disappointment on his face when it said ‘Boyle, 11’ on it.”

NHL.com

Crosby has been dealing with a wrist issue dating back to 2014. After the Olympics, the Penguins fiery captain had a run in with tough guy Ryan Reaves. In a game against the Blues, Crosby hit Reaves and took the worst of it.

“Reavo got ahold of me pretty good at home here after the Olympics,” Crosby said via NHL.com. “It was something that I kind of had to manage since then.”

A three-time Stanley Cup champion and two-time Hart Trophy recipient, Crosby has recorded 1,325 points (486 goals, 839 assists) in 1,039 games since being selected by the Penguins with the top overall pick of the 2005 NHL Draft.

Update 11:27AM Crosby In

Penguins looking to get back in win column

sidney crosby
Apr 1, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby (87) lines up against the Boston Bruins in the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Kathryn Riley-USA TODAY Sports

The Penguins started with no regulation losses in their first five games despite missing up to five key players because of injuries and COVID-19 protocol.

Then they ran into monster games from goaltenders — Andrei Vasilevskiy of Tampa Bay and Jacob Markstrom of Calgary — and have lost two straight by a combined 9-1.

That’s one goal on 74 shots, underscoring the need for some of the Penguins’ high-end players to get healthy, even though others have filled in admirably.

“The effort’s there,” Pittsburgh defenseman Mike Matheson said. “Everybody’s been bringing their lunch pail every day and working hard.”

One player who is already in the lineup and could help the Penguins is winger Jake Guentzel, a former 40-goal scorer who missed the opener because of COVID-19 protocol (he was asymptomatic) and scored in his first game back, but has no goals and three assists in the past five games.

“We have good players up and down the lineup,” said Guentzel, who has played with an assortment of teammates on the top line because of the team’s absences. “We might be playing with different guys, but you know how they play. We’ve just got to build chemistry right away.

“I’ve got to be better. I’ve just got to help as much as I can. I’ve got to start producing.”

–Field Level Media contributed to this report

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