As I sit at the CONSOL Energy Center on this cold Sunday afternoon, I thought that I would share some news, notes and thoughts with you all.
The Malkins are in the house for the second consecutive day. I didn’t see them yesterday, but I noticed an inordinate number of new photos posted on Face Book last night featuring the most famous parents in Pittsburgh. They were shown on the tron during the first period and they earned one of the biggest cheers of the period. I was a bit surprised that they weren’t sitting in a box with Geno… would think that the three of them would be watching the game together since he isn’t playing…
I had a pre-game run in with the guys from the Pens Blog (Adam and Eric) and our old friend Jesse Marshall. They are all here today to take in the game. The Penguins have had several different “Blogger” games this year and today is one of them. Always nice to see the guys…
The Penguins and Wendell August Forge presented a check for $21,117.73 to the Autism Society of Pittsburgh during the first intermission of today’s Pens/Oilers game. The money was raised by selling the special holiday ornament set that was made by Wendell August Forge and sold at the WAF store in Grove City and at the CONSOL Energy Center. It was the single largest donation ever made to the charity.
Chris Kunitz is a much underappreciated member of this team. Many folks have called for him to be traded, to be demoted, to be knocked off of the top two lines, but he was very much missed during his most recent injury. He may not be an offensive juggernaut, but he knocked home his 19th goal of the season this afternoon. His style of play creates open ice for line-mates, allows them room with the puck and ultimately helps get the offense on track… something that is much needed while the team deals with the absence of Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.
Speaking of Sidney Crosby, according to the Twitter feed of Cassie Campbell, who was a former a Canadian Olympic team member and a regular on Hockey Night in Canada, he was at the rink yesterday morning and at the game yesterday afternoon. Here is her tweet:
@CassieCampbell Crosby at rink this morning and back at game today…he has been shooting in Pens shooting gallery in dressing rm but has not skated
While we are chatting up Sid… it is worth noting that his father Troy Crosby and his agent Pat Brisson have both denied rumors that surfaced last week speculating that his family has been pushing him to retire. The rumors sprung up compliments of a Toronto radio report. I was aware of their denials, but hadn’t seen their specific quotes until today when they were posted on NESN.com. Here are the quotes from Chelsea Frajerman’s piece over at NESN.
“Not at all,” Troy Crosby said to ESPN. “We’re just trying to get him healthy again. However long that takes, that’s how long it’s going to take.”
Pat Brisson spoke to Sportsnet.ca and echoed the statements of Troy Crosby…
“With Twitter and social media, people get carried away,” Brisson told Sportsnet.ca. “It’s irresponsible. This report is baseless. At no time has retirement ever been discussed. Sidney’s parents have been nothing but supportive of his recovery. They in no way have been negative. Quite the opposite. Things are looking up for Sidney. He’s doing much better.”
Will be interesting to see how this all shakes out… personally, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see Crosby shut down for the year, I believe that he will attempt to return at some point. The team has been pretty up front regarding injuries this season and I feel that they would have made an announcement of some kind if they were going to shut him down.
While there is no end in sight for the Crosby saga, there are a handful of injured Birds close to returning to the flock. Arron Asham is very close to returning, as is Mike Comrie. Adding those two into the mix will at least give head coach Dan Bylsma some options when it comes to formulating his line-up.
That wraps it up… will have much more later, including a game story from Dan Scifo.