THE KID RETURNS
November 21st 2011 18:00
Hockey Battle #003
Sidney Crosby is set to return to the line up tonight when his Pittsburgh Penguins host the New York Islanders. The Penguins have been without Sid the "Kid" since January last year, when he suffered hits to the head in back to back games.
Crosby has been working out extremely hard at practice as well and being involved in full physical practices which should help him. However his first shift will be interesting to see how he takes the physicality of an actual game. As well as keeping up to the game speed, its one thing to practice, it's another to play. However Crosby is a special player and I can't see him being a step behind, hes a competitor and a gifted player surely he'll find the back of the net soon.
The Penguins have been on fire without arguably their 2 best players for parts of the season. Evgeni Malkin was out earlier in the season and this will be the first time the two have dressed in the same lineup since January last year.
Crosby's return has been speculated for a good couple of weeks by now, it has been rumored he was going to return as early as November 7th.
"He has been progressing and getting closer," Bylsma said.
After talking to Crosby about his return, Bylsma said that he hasn't seen this kind of excitement from Sid since his debut against the New Jersey Devils in 2005.
"He's excited and he's anxious. He's been wanting to play hockey for a long time," stated Bylsma. "Now that he is scheduled to play, the anticipation is coming to the forefront and he's excited."
As excited as Crosby is to return to the ice, the fans will be even more excited. As soon as Crosby takes to the ice for warm up, the Consol Energy Center is going to errupt. If Crosby scores a goal tonight, expect it to be one of the ages, everyone has been waiting for this moment for a long time and its great to see him return, for himself, for the fans, and for the sport. Welcome back Sid.
Pittsburgh Penguins ( 11-6-3 ) vs New York Islanders ( 5-9-3 )
Location: Pittsburgh, PA; Consol Energy Center
Last 10 Games:
Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4-1
New York Islanders 2-5-3
Season Series: Pittsburgh Penguins ( 2-0-0 ); New York Islanders ( 0-1-1 )
The Atlantic Division rivals played each other in a home and home in October, on the 25th and 27th with Pittsburgh taking both games.
The Story: Tonight is the return of Sidney Crosby, he has missed a total of 68 games including playoffs and regular seasons from last season. The captain of their franchise and all-star has finally returned, he led the Penguins in points last season with 66 and only played 41 games. He set a record for leading a team in points with the lowest amount of games played. If Crosby can return to this form he should have a chance at challanging for the Art Ross trophy this season. However that is asking a lot for a player who hasn't played in 10 months.
Who's on Fire: Matt Moulson has 6 points in 6 games, and was on a 5 game point streak until the Bruins came to town and shut them out 6-0. Jordan Staal as well has had 6 points in his last 4, putting him on a 4 game point streak.
Injury Report: Sidney Crosby is returning tonight, however so is his fellow team-mate Zbynek Michalek. Ben Lovejoy (Wrist) and Dustin Jeffrey (Knee) however are still out for the Pens'. Evgeni Nabokov (Groin) and Al Montoya (Hamstring) are both out for the Islanders which leaves them pretty thin in net however Rick Dipietro will start tonight for the Islanders.
The Prediction: I'm going off of whos hot and whos not, the Islanders are coming off of a 6-0 thrashing at home verse the Bruins and they are heading into a rink that is sure to electric tonight. I'm taking the home team with the win 3-1 over the Islanders. Crosby will get on the score sheet tonight as well.
Don't forget to follow me on twitter @HockeyBattle and feel free to post comments and questions below.. Whats your prediction tonight?
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