By Allan Muir
Plenty of excitement in Pittsburgh where it was announced that injured forward James Neal is out of the lineup for Game 2 tonight against the Islanders.
Oh, and Sidney Crosby is drawing back in.
Obviously, getting the league’s fourth-leading scorer back in uniform could be a game-changer for a Penguins team that managed to beat New York by just five goals in the series opener on Wednesday night, and for hockey poolsters who risked a third-round pick on Crosby not knowing if he’d suit up in the playoffs after sitting out the final 12 games of the regular season with a broken jaw.
On the other hand, it’s probably not the best news for all the Islanders who remember the last time Crosby made a high-profile return from injury.
Back in 2011, he suited up against the Isles after spending a year recovering from a career-threatening concussion. Sid scored less than six minutes into that one on his way to a four-point night.
Crosby told reporters that he expected to be “a little nervous,” after sitting out so long, but if the Islanders offer up the same passive resistance they did in Game 1, he should get over those jitters in no time at all.
By the way, the Pens practiced a first power play unit this morning that featured Crosby with Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang.
We’ll keep an eye on the Isles in case Evgeni Nabokov and Kevin Poulin suddenly come down with the flu.