Crosby return appears imminent, doesn’t rule out Friday return

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby appears to be on the verge of returning to NHL action for the first time in over 10 months, although both Crosby and the Penguins organization remain hesitant to state an actual return date.

“We are not waiting for an epiphany to make a decision,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “He’s progressing. He’s going down that road. I’ll reiterate to you again, there is not a timetable or a date right now that we know and you don’t. He’s continuing to practice with the team. He got back out there (on the ice) after the weekend, and he’ll to continue to practice with the team this week.”

The Penguins are in the midst of a five-day break before playing back-to-back games this weekend at home against Dallas on Friday and on the road at Carolina on Saturday. Many believed that this break would give Crosby time to practice with the team, take a few good hits and see how he responds. And for the first time since his concussions in January, Crosby isn’t fully ruling out a possible return.

“That’s a possibility,” Crosby told when asked he would suite up this weekend against Dallas. “Everyone else’s guesses are as good as mine.”

Crosby flat-out stated he would not play last weekend in the team’s road games against San Jose and Los Angeles, so at least he is leaving the option open to dress this weekend.

After playing back-to-back this Friday and Saturday, the Penguins enjoy another short break before hosting the Avalanche at home on Tuesday. The team then basically plays every other night with road games against Tampa Bay (11/17) and the Panthers (11/19) on the docket for next week.

The Penguins have been red-hot this season, starting off with a 9-3-3 record – good enough for first place in the Eastern Conference. Their stellar play affords the Penguins the opportunity to be patient with Crosby and not rush his return. And when he does return, it gives the team the opportunity to ease him back into the fold by limiting his ice time or sitting him out a game here or there. Even if Crosby plays in Dallas on Friday, it’s highly unlikely he will play again in Carolina on Saturday.

Still, for your Fantasy owners, keep an eye on this situation over the next few days. It appears as if Crosby’s return is imminent and you don’t want to miss the chance to have him in your lineup. Even if he doesn’t play this weekend, a good bet is that he hits the ice sometime next week for sure.

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