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Penguins

Crosby's playing time an issue

| Monday, June 2, 2008

Burning question: Is captain Sidney Crosby playing enough for the Penguins?

Breakdown: He skated 25 shifts and totaled 22 minutes, 39 seconds of ice-time Saturday in Game 4. He had played no more than 21:01 in the Cup final, and his average ice-time in the Penguins' previous 17 postseason games was 19:43.

PuckSpeak: "Crosby can't play 26, 27, 28 minutes. If he doesn't kill penalties, there's no player that can play 26 or 25. ... But we'll find a way to give quality ice time to Sid. That's our responsibility." - Penguins coach Michel Therrien

Looking ahead: Crosby is not a regular penalty-killer for the Penguins. Therrien used Crosby toward the end of penalty-kill situations prior to his right high-ankle sprain injury but has backed off since Crosby's late-season return - perhaps to keep that ankle from harm's way of shots.

Outside criticism is nothing new to Therrien. His approach with Crosby drew mixed opinions by NBC commentators Pierre McGuire and Eddie Olczyk during Game 4. A recap of their third-period exchange, when the Penguins trailed, 2-1, with 13 minutes remaining:

McGuire: "Sidney Crosby's only played 15 minutes in this game. They've got to find a way to get his ice-time up. Edzo, one of those ways, get him on the ice for penalty kills. You can't have him getting cold on the bench. His time is now. He's ready to do this. He's gotta play more."

Olczyk: "I disagree with you, Pierre. He hasn't really killed penalties all season long; bits and pieces at the end. Maybe if you're down by a couple of goals but not at this juncture right now."

McGuire eventually drew the last word: "You leave a Ferrari in the box, it isn't going to run very hard. You get it out on the highway, it's to take off and go."

- By Rob Rossi

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