Crosby return surprises teammates, coaches
Hockey teams have been lying about injuries forever.
But when the Penguins were insisting during the season's first six weeks that they weren't sure when captain Sidney Crosby was returning, they meant it.
Consider coach Dan Bylsma's plight:
"My wife gave away tickets for (Monday night's) game two days ago," Bylsma said before the game, "so my family doesn't have tickets for (Monday night's) game."
He wasn't the only one who didn't know.
It quickly has become apparent that none of Crosby's teammates knew when he would return.
Defenseman Kris Letang, like so many other people, opened his laptop late Sunday afternoon and saw the news online.
Crosby's linemates didn't even know. Left wing Chris Kunitz heard the news from his wife. Right wing Pascal Dupuis heard the news from his daughter.
Bylsma was watching his son's hockey game when his cell phone rang Sunday afternoon.
"We found out just when everyone else did," Letang said.
Much like the medical details during Crosby's almost year-long battle with a concussion, not much is known about the ultimate decision to let him return to game action. Crosby left California more than two weeks ago to have a weekend session with at least one member of his medical team, which includes Dr. Charles Burke (the Penguins team doctor and the man who cleared Crosby), clinical neuropsychologist Micky Collins and Ted Carrick, a chiropractor who specializes in dealing with concussions.
On Sunday, Crosby again met with members of his medical team and was cleared by Burke. Bylsma and general manager Ray Shero were aware that Crosby was meeting with his medical team, and the coach was holding out hope the news would be good.
"I was anticipating a call," he said.
Everyone, it seems, is anticipating Crosby won't have any setbacks. For almost a year it was said that Crosby would not play again until he was 100 percent healthy and unsusceptible to acquiring another concussion.
The physical contact he absorbed in practice has Crosby convinced he is officially out of the woods.
"I've taken as much as I possibly can," Crosby said. "Now it's time for the real thing. I'm excited for that."
No. 87 is No. 1
Sidney Crosby's return by the numbers:
2 — Goals
2 — Assists
8 — Shots on goal
2 — Times he was checked solidly
15 — Minutes of Crosby highlights shown at a Mt. Lebanon middle school to begin children's class day
14:01 — Ice time
34-19-8 — Penguins' record without Crosby past two seasons
300 — Dollars being sought by scalpers for a ticket
250 — Media credentials issued
320 — Days between games
Sidney Crosby Returns November 21, 2011
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scores twice in his return against the New York Islanders, Monday, November 21, 2011 at Consol Energy Center.
Penguins' official site: Postgame reaction