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Tonight on Versus: It’s the Sidney Crosby comeback party

Nov 21, 2011, 7:30 AM EDT

Sidney Crosby AP

It wasn’t supposed to be a Penguins-Islanders battle on Versus tonight (7 p.m. ET) but with Sidney Crosby making his return to action after missing 10 months with a concussion, things change. With the game’s biggest star making his return to game action, the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were already roaring this season, all of a sudden become a lot scarier to play against.

Crosby will cruise the ice with a pair of familiar linemates in Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis. Nothing beats welcoming him back to action like having his old running crew on the wings for him to roll with. By doing that, coach Dan Bylsma can also keep his line of Steve Sullivan, Evgeni Malkin, and James Neal together. While Kunitz and Dupuis might not stand out as big time scorers, Crosby will be able to help lift their game even if he ends up being a bit rusty.

The Penguins’ opponents in this battle, the Islanders, are taking a backseat to all the Crosby headlines and they might be happy about that for a good reason. The Isles have been terrible of late and sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Rick DiPietro is now the man in goal and having to deal with Crosby and the Penguins is about as difficult of an assignment as it gets.

In his career against the Islanders, Crosby has 18 goals and 44 assists in 33 games. Crosby’s success against the Islanders is only matched by what he’s done against the Flyers as he’s scored 62 points against both teams in his career. Just so long as DiPietro doesn’t threaten to fight anyone, things might stay somewhat normal tonight.

Bylsma says that Crosby won’t get thrown to the wolves and play 20 minutes or more tonight believing that he’ll get around 15 minutes or so. Good luck keeping him off the ice though. If Crosby looks like he hasn’t missed a day, never mind 10 months, they’ll be hard pressed to hold him back.

  1. me6661973 - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:39 AM

    Enough about scramble brains gezz he not the best! He so great he been back already. He to me the most overrated player ever. And how can you even put him in all star game when he not play one game? Making other players a given right to target him and make him go bye bye again! Please do so we can hear about real players like Tim Thomas, Cluade, Chara, Cain, Pronger, Read, and heck even Pens new rookie seems be better than Crybaby!

    • miketoasty - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:26 AM

      Rocket Richard, Stanley Cup, Art Ross, Lester B. Pearson, Hart Memorial, Mark Messier, 4 Time all – star, and all that before he turned 24. Yep, he’s not the best, not even close.

      • hockeyfan1701 - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:54 AM

        You forgot Gold Medal Winner, ohhhh he also scored that goal that won it too…..

  2. carol6645 - Nov 21, 2011 at 8:09 AM

    Nasty nasty nasty! Guess you haven’t seen the stats on Sidney. He IS the BEST! This is Celebration Day!
    Does anyone have something good to say? Hey! I could say Tim Thomas is an entertaining goalie and pretty good too.
    Now you have my permission to say something nice about Sidney Crosby despite the fact you are a typical nasty Bruin fan!

    • hystoracle - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:21 AM

      The only thing I’m interested in seeing is how long he can remain playing. Concussions don’t go away. Each concussion becomes easier to occur and more difficult to heal from. Ask Marc Savard and Eric Lindros how that works. Crosby is a great player but he isn’t superman.

      The most disgusting thing in all this is the Versus crew will be falling all over themselves about this. They probably will be watching him sit on the bench while play is going on. We’ll hear how this is the greatest comeback of all time and other BS. They might even remember that there is another team on the ice.

      • miketoasty - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:29 AM

        First off this is a great comeback but I don’t think it can touch 66’s comeback.

        Second, Savard and Lindros both returned with continuing symptoms, once you no longer have symptoms you are much less likely to re aggravate the injury.

        But, I do agree that VS will be overly excited about his return, and yes will probably forget there is another team on the ice, this is just what VS does.

      • sonuvabass - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:54 PM

        Yeah, I was excited to watch a great rivalry game tonight, in the Bruins – Canadiens. Instead I get a crappy team playing the Penguins with a whole buttload of hype about Crosby. I’m glad he’s able to return, but we don’t need to watch a crappy game.

  3. lsxphotog - Nov 21, 2011 at 8:39 AM

    Glad he is back! Man, what are the odds his first game back is a nationally televised game against a team he statistically dominates? Crazy that it worked out that way! haha, yeah… What will happen? The Pens will continue to get special treatment and get the man advantage more often than not. Crosby will finish the month with 3 goals and 4 assists. The headlines will playfully emulate the “Lemieux is Back” and show just the back of his Jersey. All NHL coverage will forget about every team in the league and focus on the accolades of Crosby as the league hands him chances for a strong comeback on a platter.

    I want nothing more than to watch Crosby return and play at the highest level, but I am also prepared for the bias to lean in favor of Sid and his team to make to most out of his return. I’ll be counting the power plays it the end of December and laugh.

    • miketoasty - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:33 AM

      It wasn’t going to be nationally televised, originally VS was going to air the Bruins vs Canadians game but made the switch once they heard Crosby was playing. Also, I am sure that he would have waited if it wasn’t against a team not doing so hot.

  4. 8man - Nov 21, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    Typical, nasty Bruins fan here. I never thought I’d despise something more than the Yankees, yet I do. I just hate all things Pittsburgh. I hate the Steelers. I hate the Pens. And I even hate that minor league baseball team they try to pass off as belonging in the National League.

    Let’s be real, over the last ten years, Pittsburgh and Boston have been the most prolific cities in the sports pages. Unless you count coverage of the Vancouver riots….heh!

    Two weeks from tonight the physical and Stanley Cup Champion spoked B’s will waltz into Mellon Arena and knock Crosby back onto his candy-ass! Let’s see what Versus does with that.

    • johninpa - Nov 21, 2011 at 5:33 PM

      You can hate the Pens and Steelers all you want, and even the Pirates, too. You don’t have to be a Pens fan, or a Crosby fan to realize he is good for hockey – all of hockey. How many more people will watch the game tonight because Crosby is back on the ice? How many more tickets will be sold at away arenas that the Pens are playing in? Like it or not, right now he is the face of hockey, and it is good for hockey that he is back.

      Hopefully your Bruins don’t waltz into the Mellon Arena – it is being demolished. We are playing in the Consol Energy Center now, since the start of last season. I’m sure life changes quickly for you, but please try to keep up.

  5. rainyday56 - Nov 21, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    This is just like the return of the “King” from his tour of duty in Germany … only different.


  6. carol6645 - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    Love that “johninpa’s” comment.
    Bruins fans often don’t know what they are talking about! Read a book or something. Read about Crosby and his many feats among which is a Stanley cup(with his TEAM) and the winning goal against Miller to win the Olympic’s game!
    He’s only 24! He’s gorgeously handsome and everyone loves him!!

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