PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins will begin their quest for a Stanley Cup without Sidney Crosby.
Crosby said Wednesday broken jaw will keep him out of Pittsburgh’s playoff opener against the New York Islanders Wednesday night. Crosby hasn’t played since taking an errant shot to the face in a game against the Islanders on March 30. He met with a doctor on Tuesday and while the doctor was pleased with Crosby’s progress he still has not received clearance to play.
“He said everything looks good, he just wasn’t prepared to let me play,” Crosby said. “Obviously I would love to have the chance to play tonight but that’s not the way it is and (I’ll) make sure I’m ready when the time comes.”
Crosby skated alongside his teammates on Wednesday morning then spent an additional 30 minutes on the ice getting extra work in. He said he has not been given a timetable for his return. Game 2 is Friday night.
“He didn’t give me a date and I’m sure if he gives a date, I’d have pretty high expectations of that date,” Crosby said. “I’m sure he’s waiting until he feels comfortable.”
The Penguins went 8-4 while playing without Crosby for the final quarter of the season and beat the Islanders in four of their five meetings this year.
Despite missing 12 games, Crosby still finished tied for third in the NHL scoring race with 56 points and he has torched the Islanders throughout his career, scoring 20 goals and dishing out 55 assists against the Islanders, the most points has against any team.
New York coach Jack Capuano thinks even without Crosby the star-laden Penguins remain one of the most dangerous teams in the league. In addition to reigning NHL MVP Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins added future Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla and veterans Jussi Jokinen, Brenden Morrow and Doug Murray at the trade deadline.
“Obviously again they’ve got a lot of depth,” Capuano said.