This is awfully dramatic timing, isn’t it? Think about it: huge game in our series with the New York Rangers as the Pens sniff at a number-one seed; on the road in MSG against a bitter rival; our very own Charlie Conway… er… Sidney Crosby back in the lineup. We are one slow-motion action montage set to a Foo Fighters song away from this being a summer blockbuster, and everyone knows it.
According to Bylsma (and Reg’s latest post below), Sid will be on the third line between Cooke and Kennedy, and he’ll be limited to just 15 minutes of ice time. It’s not looking good for him to blow up the scoreboard like he did last time, especially if Lundqvist is 100% and back in net. Of course, Bylsma said that Kris Letang would have limited minutes when he returned in January against the Rangers and that went out the window real fast, so who knows what will happen.
Don’t get me wrong, limiting Crosby is fine by me. I worry that Sid’s comeback will mess with the line chemistry and Evgeni Malkin’s head at a time when the Pens are easily rolling with the most momentum of any club in the league, so easing everyone back into life with Crosby is probably the best course of action. I never thought I would find a downside to Sidney Crosby returning to the ice, but there it is.
The bottom line is that Sid’s well-timed return will help our boys get two points out of tomorrow’s meeting with the Rangers, but his contributions tomorrow will be more as an emotional spark for the Pens and fans rather than as a points-getting machine. I’d love to be proven wrong, though.