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Penguins expect Crosby to play every game down the stretch

Mar 15, 2012, 3:26 PM EDT

Sidney Crosby AP

Much has been made over how Pittsburgh will handle Sidney Crosby‘s minutes in his latest comeback.

But what about the number of games he’ll play?

The Penguins have 14 games over the final 23 days of the regular season, including a three-in-four nights stretch beginning tonight in New York — leading some to theorize that Crosby should take the occasional maintenance day (or, safety precaution day.)

But that’s not going to happen, according to Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma.

“There’s really no thought in my mind that he’s not going to play in all 14 games,” Bylsma told ESPN. “Would we think about certain scenarios? Maybe. But like I said, am I going to ask Sidney Crosby to not play in Philadelphia? It doesn’t seem like that’s a likely possibility in any regard.”

After the three-games-in-four-nights stretch — against the Rangers, Devils and Flyers — it’ll be hard for Pittsburgh not to look ahead to its final four games of the season. From April 1-7 the Penguins play the Flyers, Bruins, Rangers then Flyers again in a quartet of games that could decide pecking order in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

All four promise to be heated affairs, though Crosby isn’t ready to start looking so far ahead. He’s just trying to put tonight’s game against New York in context.

“You’re excited to get back out there,” Crosby said after today’s morning skate. “This is a big game. If anything, you’re trying to make it as normal as possible, if that’s possible.”

As for what he expects moving forward?

“I don’t expect to be where I was 14 months ago, but I expect to be at a pretty good level, create things and contribute. I’ll get a better idea of where I’m at once I start playing games, but I’m not going out there just to kill time.”

  1. jpelle82 - Mar 15, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    why wouldnt he if he is healthy?…the rest of the schedule is tough…nsh, ott, wpg, phi, nyr, nj 2x….

  2. hartsy19 - Mar 15, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    ({})

  3. abrienza428 - Mar 15, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    If you’re worried about having to rest him like that, he shouldn’t come back at all. I’m inclined to think he’ll be fine, but you never know.

    I’m positive he’s in enough physical shape to handle the stretch. And like I said, if you’re worried about him taking a hit to the extent that you hold him out of games or severely limit his minutes, then you shouldn’t play him at all. Seems Bylsma feels the same.

  4. modellforprez - Mar 15, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    he’s been fine for a while his play k and breed leave me inclined to believe been practicing for a while and if shero and bylsma were not sure THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD NOT NAMED MALKIN OR stamkos he would not be out there

  5. joethorntonisclutch - Mar 15, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    I hope he makes it, but I’m not sure if he will. Like I said before, playoff hockey is not regular season hockey. It’s a much more physical game and I don’t think there’s anyway to know at this point if Crosby’s skull will be able to handle all the contact he’ll see then.

    For the sake of the NHL, I hope he sticks around. He’s a huge talent and an amazing player to watch, but I hope for Crosby’s sake he makes the right decision for his own health if this comeback follows the same suit as the last one.

  6. govtminion2 - Mar 15, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Soupcan has only 1 speed, Full Throttle!! Can’t wait to see those horse like thighs pumping like pistons as he resumes his dominance!! He is the truth, the legend, the almighty, The SOUPCAN

    • Buffalo Grumblings - Mar 17, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      The legend? You haven’t watch hockey very long have you? Ever hear of guys named Orr, Howe, Richard? Look how many rings they have.

  7. Buffalo Grumblings - Mar 17, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    I hope so Danny. He’s been off work since December!!

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