Sidney Crosby is set to return to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the New York Islanders.
After a month away from the team, Crosby was medically cleared to play on Thursday afternoon. He got right to work, skating with linemates Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz.
Crosby took a puck to the face in a late-season matchup, forcing him to get facial surgery and sparking fears of another concussion after the star forward already missed the bulk of two seasons with a head injury.
Crosby was close to returning for the series opener, but Shawn Roarke of NHL.com reported that a doctor wasn’t ready to give him clearance to play. Crosby participated in the team’s morning skate on Wednesday with a mouth guard and black jersey so other players knew not to check him.
Now that he’s been cleared to return, Sidney Crosby said he’s ready to go.
“I think that if a doctor clears you to play that gives you a lot of confidence going out there knowing that you can play and take a hit so I’m not concerned,” Crosby said.
The Penguins didn’t need Crosby at all in Game 1, beating the Islanders 5-0. The Penguins came into the playoffs as the top seed in the Eastern Conference and favorite of many to win the Stanley Cup, and with Crosby back in the lineup they are only more dangerous.
“It means a lot. He’s the guy that sets the elite skill level out there and more important the competition level out there,” said Pittsburgh defenseman Douglas Murray. “Obviously it’s a confidence boost getting his skill back in the lineup.”
Crosby said hes excited to return to the team.
“I think every time you play in the playoffs there’s always a little bit extra, especially coming back after missing some time. I think you just want to make sure you’re ready but we’re all excited to play in those kinds of games, you welcome that, these are the ones you want to be in,” Sidney Crosby said.