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Lemieux on Crosby return: “It’s going to be exciting”

Mar 8, 2012, 12:07 PM EDT

Lemieux Crosby

Mario Lemieux can’t help but get excited about Sidney Crosby‘s impending return.

The Penguins co-owner — who, remember, played alongside Crosby during the 2005-06 season — answered some Sid-the-Kid-related queries following his statue unveiling on Wednesday.

Based on what No. 66 had to say, it sounds like the entire organization is fired up about No. 87 coming back into the fold.

“I know he’s anxious to get back. It’s been a difficult three months for him off the ice, but I think he’s turning the corner now, he’s looking a lot better,” Lemieux told “And I’m anxious to see him back.”

In a weird twist, Crosby (24 years old) is almost the same age Lemieux was when he first encountered health problems. After scoring a career-best 199 points in 1988-89, Lemieux only played 59 games the following year, then sat out the two-thirds of the 1990-91 season after having back surgery.

“It’s never fun to be on the sidelines, especially with Sid’s injury” Lemieux said. “It’s a little different than back surgery or hip surgery or anything else out there. You have to be patient. But I think he’s getting better, he’s getting close to being back on the ice.

“And it’s going to be exciting when he gets back.”

Lemieux’s not the only one excited about getting Crosby back — Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma has already started projecting potential linemates. In the past, Crosby’s usually skated with Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis, but Kunitz has thrived alongside Evgeni Malkin and James Neal on the Penguins’ top line. Some think the trio should be reunited, while others think Steve Sullivan should take Kunitz’s place and get the chance to play with Crosby.

Bylsma admitted to thinking about it, but said no decisions had been made.

“I think it’s natural to have thought long before (Tuesday) about where Sidney would play and what line he would play on,” Bylsma said. “There’s certainly a lot of thought been given to that — had conversations with Sidney about that, as well. When we have a time where he’s going to be getting back, we’ll have a better idea.”

  1. jpelle82 - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    after last night’s game i think they should really consider keeping dupuis with staal and just add crosby to that combo…leave the malkin line alone.

    • bmscalise - Mar 8, 2012 at 6:50 PM

      I know putting Staal with Sid is the trendy suggestion right now, even in the media, but it is a really bad idea.

      For starters, Staal isn’t Jeff Carter. His skill set is that of a center iceman. He has a phenomenal reach and takes up half the width of the ice with his reach. And you don’t negate his insane defensive skills by burying him on the wing. His rookie year was an outlier; he’s never looked comfortable on wing since. (If they do try this, it won’t last more than a week. And Bylsma will – and should – constantly change up his lines within games anyway.)

      Second, the Pens strength is their depth at center. Why would a team purposefully negate your depth at center by putting Staal at wing? Pens beat Detroit precisely because Det could mostly control the top line, mostly control the second line, but ran out of people capable of controlling Jordan Staal.

      You don’t win a championship with a mega-line. You win it with balance and depth:
      and some combo of 12-46-27-45

      That’s balance. That’s depth.

  2. sjsharksfan11 - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    No it won’t. The excitement comes when Crosbaby’s career is over

    • sportsfreak13 - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      i think the excitement comes in 4 weeks when the sharks miss the playoffs.

    • napoleonblownapart6887 - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      The trolling is strong with this one… too bad nobody cares what he has to say.

      I know a lot of hockey fans are excited to see him back and I certainly am. I think he ends up on a line with Dupes and Sullivan, and then have Staal, TK and Cooke on the third line (just looking at that, that would be a pretty nice two-way line).

      Next up – Letang watch 2012… just kidding – I’m sure every non-Penguins fan would try to blow up the internet if that was on deck.

  3. buffalomafia - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Cynthia Crosby is coming back to cry again!

    He is a great hockey player but if you give a check you must take a check!

    How old is Cynthia Crosby?

    As long as Cynthia stays healthy & doesn’t cry to refs the Penguins are a front runner!

    • sportsfreak13 - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      is that the same advice you gave miller?

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Mar 8, 2012 at 8:18 PM

        Well played sir.

  4. dmacirish - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    it will be the most exciting 1 or 2 minutes of hockey for Crosby this year. and then… the Bruins happen. I would love to see him come back and be great but the Bruins won’t be all that gentle and the concussion he suffers after his second shift will kind of knock him out for the rest of the year.

  5. penselite86 - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Only a narrow minded fool would want to see Crosby sidelined again rather then appreciate his greatness. I have no doubt that the thugs that are the Boston Bruins will try to do so but who can blame them when your faced with easily the 3 beat offensive lines in hockey…….GOOD LUCK WITH THAT

  6. danphipps01 - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    I’m suspicious about the timing of his latest “recovery.” It was nothing, nothing, nothing, then suddenly he was taking hits in practice and Bylsma was working on line combos. It smacks of rushing him back for the playoffs – a dangerous and irresponsible move.

    • sportsfreak13 - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      Yea because their such a desperate team without him right now!( 7 game winning streak). They didn’t rush him back for last years playoffs, what makes you think they would this year.Think before you type.

    • richie500 - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:44 PM

      I susupected he would be back with 10-15 games left all along. Get his game legs back for a playoff run.
      The suspicious thing is, is that I was right!
      Has the team been holding him back for the playoffs?

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Mar 8, 2012 at 8:20 PM

      I for one am happy we haven’t heard anything for a while. It got tiring hearing “Still no timetable on Crosby” every other day. I’m thrilled for his return and I’m glad the media hasn’t said anything for sometime, though that may be because they haven’t heard anything either.

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