With superstar Crosby back, a dream season for Penguins'
TribLIVE Sports Videos
DENVER — Penguins fans dream about captain Sidney Crosby returning from his 14-month bout with concussions and ending the most challenging chapter of his life by lifting the Stanley Cup.
Turns out some of his teammates share that dream.
"We're hoping it's going to be like Christmas morning one day," defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. "We're going to walk in and, 'Oh, cool. We get the best player in the world back.' "
Crosby skates before, during or after Penguins practice almost every day. He still looks like the player who dominated the NHL before two hits he absorbed in January 2011 changed everything.
Crosby regularly puts on a show in practice and, if his symptoms disappear soon, could be on the ice this postseason. And that's a tempting thought for his teammates.
"A lot of us think about the possibilities," defenseman Paul Martin said. "I think a lot of us realize how good we are right now. You get the best player in the league back — and don't forget about how well (Evgeni Malkin) is playing — and yeah, we realize how good we can be."
After seeing the Penguins first-hand in a 4-2 loss last week, Columbus goalie Curtis Sanford agreed. He played well but was overwhelmed during a three-goal third period.
"That team is so good right now," he said. "They've got Malkin and his line. That power play. That defense. They've got (Marc-Andre) Fleury in net. It's already one of the best teams in the league. Now, give them Crosby• Who's going to beat them• Heck yeah, they're the favorite if that happens."
Nobody knows how likely that is. Crosby last spoke with reporters Feb. 17, and although he maintained his desire to play this season, there was no sign of certainty in his voice. The headaches that flared up eight games into his return have slowed but not disappeared.
Until Crosby is symptom-free, he will not return. The stunning precision of his game in practice will remain nothing but a cruel tease to him and his teammates.
"We know that we can't count on him right now," defenseman Zbynek Michalek said. "We know that, right now, it's about the group we have playing."
But Michalek wouldn't mind counting on Crosby when the postseason arrives.
"We do feel good about how we're playing without him, but it sure would be great having him back," he said. "We have a tough hill to climb if we're going all the way. Obviously he would help."
The Penguins know Crosby might not return this season, but the thought of hockey's biggest name rejoining one of its best teams is enticing.
"You don't want to get too excited, because you never really know," Martin said. "But in the back of our minds, we're thinking about it. We hope it happens."
If it does, the Penguins' daydreaming might become a nightmare for the rest of the NHL.
"We just hope he gets better and comes back," Lovejoy said, "and helps us go all the way."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Spaling, Penguins agree to $4.4 million deal
- New Penguins coach to meet with Malkin
- Young Penguins defensemen hope to make impact at NHL level
- Penguins assistant Martin gets new job title