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Pens coach pondering Crosby’s linemates

Mar 7, 2012, 2:10 PM EDT

Sidney Crosby

Safe to say Dan Bylmsa wouldn’t be contemplating possible linemates for Sidney Crosby if the captain’s return to the Pittsburgh lineup wasn’t imminent. Which makes the coach’s comments today all the more exciting for Penguins fans.

“Great, great problem to ponder to think about, what line he would fit on,” Bylsma said, as reported by NHL.com. “Certainly, the (Chris) Kunitz-(Evgeni) Malkin-(James) Neal line has been spectacular and probably has been the best line in hockey the last two, two-and-a-half months. Having Sidney Crosby in that mix, the best player in the world, certainly is nice to ponder. Sid has been working hard, and at the trade deadline, there was talk he could be the best acquisition you could ever make. We’ve won some hockey games but we all know that adding that into our lineup would be the best acquisition we could make, and we welcome that sooner than later.”

Sunday’s home game against the Bruins is the one many are targeting for a Crosby comeback, though that’s the earliest he would play.

Assuming the Kunitz-Malkin-Neal trio stays together, Crosby could center Pascal Dupuis and Steve Sullivan, with Jordan Staal reprising his role as the best third-line center in the NHL.

Related: Tonight on NBCSN: Penguins look to roll on against Maple Leafs

  1. jobotjones - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    I know they won’t do this but image a line with Crobsy, Geno and Neal. The thought alone makes me need a cold shower.

    • abrienza428 - Mar 7, 2012 at 3:19 PM

      They probably will do that now and then. They often put Crosby and Malkin together to provide a spark when needed, and I’m sure Neal will be the 3rd guy on that line.

      • jobotjones - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:01 PM

        yea I really just meant long term but that line will eventually form together it’s too good not to be tried out.

  2. reachers87 - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    How about: 14,71,18
    11,87,48
    24,46,45
    9, 27, 12

    • abrienza428 - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:38 PM

      Sullivan?

    • miketoasty - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      14 – 71 – 18
      9 – 87 – 11
      48 – 46 – 26
      45 – 27 – 24

      I would say (In my opinion) this would be a great fit. You have two scoring lines a third line that can do a little of grinding and chip in some scoring, and an all grinder line.

  3. reachers87 - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Oops. No Park?

  4. pens919209 - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    I like the idea of Staal playing on Crosby’s line, personally. A columnist in Pittsburgh floated the idea, and it makes sense – especially seeing the way that Staal has elevated his game lately. There’s no reason that he and Crosby couldn’t have some chemistry on a line together – and they would be scary on faceoffs.

    • napoleonblownapart6887 - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:55 PM

      I agree, its certainly an interesting concept. I think Vitale has more than proved his mettle as a solid 3rd-line center iceman. maybe something like this:
      Neal-Malkin-Kunitz
      Staal-Crosby-TK
      Sullivan-Vitale-Cooke
      Asham-Park-Adams/Jeffrey

      Woohee that looks nice doesn’t it?

      • pens919209 - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:57 PM

        Sure does – I’ll take two number one lines on my team any day of the week.

      • jpelle82 - Mar 7, 2012 at 3:42 PM

        cant take dupuis out of the lineup…

      • napoleonblownapart6887 - Mar 8, 2012 at 9:57 AM

        Whoops- forgot about Dupuis (maybe he read this before the game last night?).

        So then you put the lines like this:
        Staal-Crosby-Dupuis
        Sullivan-Vitale-TK
        Asham-Park/Jeffrey-Adams/Cooke

  5. sportsfreak13 - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    9-87-26
    14-71-18
    24-11-48
    45-46-27
    The reason no staal with Sid is because he’s the best shutdown center we have and really its like line 1 then line 1a the line 2 and line 3. We are blessed.

    • pens919209 - Mar 7, 2012 at 3:02 PM

      Staal could still be used in a shutdown role as needed. If Penguin fans have learned anything in the Michel Therrien and Dan Bylsma eras, line combinations are certainly not set in stone.

  6. fleurysteeth - Mar 7, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    this is the only line you need… ready for it?

    87.

    dekes on the reg, checks on the reg, goals on the reg. victories on the reg.

    SoupCanArmy!

  7. jpelle82 - Mar 7, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    i’d say asham is the odd man out…adams is way too valuable on the pk. i dont see jeffrey or tangradi cracking the lineup again unless theres an injury. crosby needs to be reunited with dupuis for sure…and staal deserves the 2nd line ice time (20 goals!?). if you put staal in with crosby and dupuis it gives them a security blanket to open it up more…dupuis can fly (just wish he could finish). plus then you could have so many better matchups with staal out there you could put that line out against the opposing 1st line and still generate tons of offense. i love the idea of vitale, sullivan, tk as a 3rd line and then adams, park, and cooke on the 4th. i dont think its a stretch to keep sullivan on the 3rd just because he will still get his points and minutes on the pp. cooke gets pk time too and he really is a 4th line type of guy anyway.

  8. sjsharksfan11 - Mar 7, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    His linemates should be tampon and pacifier

    • sportsfreak13 - Mar 7, 2012 at 4:35 PM

      How many cups have the san jose sharks won again?

  9. pensfan8718 - Mar 7, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    ok so here we go, I know all of you are gonna flip out but listen. Sid has always played with Kunnie, from day 1 so go ahead and add 14 to his line. And Neal was brought to Pittsburgh to play on the other side of Sid. Sid being the playmaker, Kunnie the tough guy in front and Neal the sniper. Sully was signed to play with Geno so that’s where he should be. And Duper is a great match on that line. Once again playmaker in Sully, tough guy in front in Duper, and sniper in Geno. And all Pens fans know how great Stall, Cooke, and Kennedy are together. And a fourth line with Asham, Adams, and Park. so the lines look like this:
    14-87-18
    26-71-9
    48-11-24
    12-27-45

    • jpelle82 - Mar 7, 2012 at 5:26 PM

      vitale has earned his spot…i would rather he be in there than park or asham.

  10. richie500 - Mar 7, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    You don’t break -up the best line in hockey, I like their cohesion. Besides Sid’s one elbow or hit away from being out the rest of the year anyway.

  11. murtdurt - Mar 7, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    ^ ZERO! I think the sharks have bigger issues to worry about…like making the playoffs let alone worrying about actually getting out of the west or what the penguins and Sid are doing.

    Also the Geno, Sid, Neal line will the the first power play unit. Think about that with the man advantage…

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