It’s down to just days, it would seem, before Sidney Cosby returns to action.
The world’s best player was cleared for contact Tuesday and joined his Pittsburgh Penguins teammates Wednesday for a morning skate. Crosby said he is anxious to get back into a game but isn’t sure his teammates need him.
The Penguins had won six straight games leading up to their contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday night and ranked fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 39-21-5 record.
"I’m impressed; not surprised," Crosby said. "We have a lot of character here; guys who have won and understand the adversity teams go through during the season. We’ve missed a lot of guys at different points this season. Unfortunately that has been the case the past few seasons, but I think there’s experience with that and we’ve handled it great."
Crosby missed a year of hockey when he was accidentally hit in the head by David Steckel — then of the Washington Capitals and now with the Leafs — and hit hard into the boards by Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman in back-to-back games. The hits led to a concussion and, it turns out, neck issues. He returned to action Nov. 21 and had two goals and two assists in a 5-0 win over the New York Islanders.
Crosby played eight games scoring two goals and 12 points before being concussed again. He has not played since Dec. 5.
"The excitement is always there," Crosby said. "You try not to think about it too much. You never know how long the process is going to be so you don’t want to get too far ahead."
After the morning skate, Crosby said he wasn’t sure when he would get into a game. The Penguins host the Florida Panthers Friday and the Boston Bruins Sunday.
"Obviously there wasn’t much going on today with a morning skate, but the days between games we’ll try to make the most of those and get some contact and try to push myself and see how I feel."