The Penguins stayed overnight in New York following their Game 5 loss to the Rangers, where Sidney Crosby had left in the second period following a high hit from Jacob Trouba.
Head coach Mike Sullivan spoke with the media this morning before the team’s flight home, and provided an update on the captain.
“Sid will be evaluated when he goes back to Pittsburgh with us today,” Sullivan said. “His injury is an upper-body injury. I’m not going to get into more specifics with that.”
The Penguins did not hold a team practice today due to their travel situation, so the next time they will be on the ice is for morning skate ahead of Game 6 on Friday in Pittsburgh. Sullivan said they are not going to get ahead of themselves when it comes to Crosby’s availability for that game, and that they will take each day as it comes.
“But regardless of what our lineup looks like each and every night, we believe we have what it takes to win,” Sullivan said. “We have a lot of depth at in all the positions. We’ve got a capable group, and this group has always had the next-man-up mentality. We’ll continue to do that moving forward here.”
Video: Coach Sullivan speaks with the media
Crosby’s play throughout this series has been truly superb. He had recorded multiple points in four straight games to begin the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs for a total of nine (2G-7A), marking the fifth time a Penguins player has accomplished such a feat in team history.
His goal and two assists in Game 4 made him just one of six players all-time to accumulate 200 playoff points for his career, which came in 178 games, the fourth-fewest amount required.
But while his stats have been staggering, what’s also been impressive is just the motivation and desire that the 34-year-old has been playing with. It’s been absolutely inspiring hockey.
“He’s a great leader. He’s the standard. He personifies what it means to be a Pittsburgh Penguin,” Sullivan said. “So he’s not only a leader through his actions, but he’s a leader through his demeanor and how he carries himself. He’s a voice of reason through an emotional, turbulent game. That’s what he brings to our team. He’s just a great leader both on the ice and off the ice. I’m probably stating the obvious, but he means a lot to this organization, he means a lot to this team.”
Fortunately, the Penguins have another generational, game-changing talent in their lineup that they can rely on in tough circumstances like these. When Crosby went down, Evgeni Malkin moved up to center Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust, a combination that’s had success in the past whenever the captain has been out due to injury.
If Crosby is unable to go on Friday, the Penguins have faith that Malkin will be the incredible difference-maker that he’s been throughout his career.
“Geno, he’s an important guy for us,” Sullivan said. “That combination, Sid and Geno, had been two of the best in the league for 15-plus years. So, when one of them is out, the other one steps up. That’s been my experience since I’ve been here and depending on what happens moving forward, I’m sure Geno will bring his best.”