Injury reporting in the NHL is, at best, a practice of ambiguity. A person with “lower-body injury” may have toenails or one of his feet may be missing. In the playoffs, though, things somehow become more obscure. You will never know if an injured player is healthy until he returns to the lineup and you will never know that he has become completely crab until they announce the day after his surgery. The parties do this out of a combination of some inertia and imaginary strategic advantage, and a side effect of tradition is stirring up all sorts of anxieties among fans who just want to know how intensely they should panic.
Sydney Crosby is on the field against Rangers for Game 6 tonight, a series in which the Penguins are 3-2 up. He allegedly received an injury; We must say “spoken” because, formally and of course, it is merely an “upper body injury”. But it’s a blow, suffering an awkward collision with Jacob Truber in the middle of Game 5. Pence coach Mike Sullivan indicated there was an intent to hit, but no punishment was handed down and no supplementary discipline was handed over.
Obviously the first concern is for Crossby’s health, when he lost his prime to hit the seasons. But he was having a vintage year at the age of 34 and was totally impressive in this first round series. The numbers were unreasonable: two goals and nine points for Crossby in the four-plus game, and his line carried 81.6 percent of the expected goal share. The Rangers had zero answers for the crossbow line and the series was seen paired with Iger Shesterkin’s slippage. Until then, almost literally, the moment Crossby left the game on Wednesday. The Rangers scored their first of three goals at 2:42, two down and a elimination, just before the end of one minute of play. It felt like a change in the series, just as the Rangers broke into their almighty Nemesis dressing room. Will it carry?
Not the penguins Just Sydney Crosby, but they are completely shallow and less scary without him. Evgeni Malkin will rust in the middle and slide up to Guentzel, so the top line still looks pretty good. But now Evan Rodriguez will quarterback on the second line, and while he has played better in the center than on the wing, each line has suffered some significant (on-paper) downgrades on both sides of the ice here. Although Pittsburgh was a heavy underdog in the series, Crosby almost single-handedly tilted the ice for the Penguins. Now they don’t have that, and while they’re still playing a game, it’s sure that hell doesn’t feel like it.
The last thing the Penguins have to lose tonight is go back to New York for a Game 7. Any Opportunity to play crossbow? This is not a silly question because of the uncertain nature of the head injury. But Penguin fans must suffer the frustration of uncertainty, because by tradition, there will be zero useful updates until Crossby returns or the end of the Pittsburgh season. He reportedly skated but did not practice this morning, which is either promising or promising. Mike Sullivan doesn’t help at all:
Great so he is being taken to a nice farm, where he can run with other hockey players. You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people.