Sidney Crosby has been placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, according to Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan. The news broke late this morning, to the shock of the hockey world. It is unknown if Crosby contracted the virus or if it is out of precaution due to contact. Pittsburgh did not have a morning skate due to the NHL’s protocols.
Sidney Crosby on COVID-19 Protocol
The Penguins can ill-afford to lose their captain as they currently sit fifth in the East Divison standings, two points out of a playoff spot. Crosby is leading the team in scoring with seven goals and 11 assists in 20 games. The two-time NHL MVP (2007, 2014) and two-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner (2016, 2017) remains one of the best players in the NHL. Crosby could miss up to two weeks before returning to the lineup.
Pittsburgh will look to superstar second-line centre Evgeni Malkin to fill the void up front. Malkin has struggled for much of the year, with four goals and eight assists in 20 games. He’s just fifth on the team in scoring, poor by his standards.
There is no replacing a player like Sidney Crosby in the short term. In the tight East Division, this may force new Pittsburgh general manager Ron Hextall and new president of hockey operations, Brian Burke, to make a move to remain in the playoff picture. The Penguins have been rumoured to have an interest in making a deal with Anaheim. Is veteran and fellow Canadian Olympian Ryan Getzlaf an option?
The Penguins play state rivals Philadelphia this evening and are welcoming back 2,800 fans for the first time. This will not be the ideal welcome back party. To add insult to injury, they host the Flyers three times over the next five days, followed by the Rangers on the 7th and 9th.
Sidney Crosby, who recently played his 1000th NHL game has 1281 career points, 2nd only to Mario Lemieux (1723) in franchise history.
It is unknown if more players from the Penguins have been affected as the NHL and the Penguins organization try to sort through this news.
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