The Penguins put on quite a show the other night at Consol Energy Center defeating the Colorado Avalanche 6-3 in their 2011 Winter Classic navy blue uniforms. After going down, 3-1 in the first period, the Pens rallied back with 1 goal in the second and 4 in the third. They spread the puck around getting goals from Jordan Staal, Pascal Dupuis, Brooks Orpik, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang, and James Neal. Additionally, Arron Asham was praised as a leader. "Arron Asham played one of his better games and I know was leading the charge," Bylsma said. "We came back pretty hard, both with the room and the guys on the ice, making a statement."
Thus, the questions surface: is Sidney Crosby absolutely necessary to the Pens' success, and what should the Penguins do when he is cleared to play?
Of course Sidney will want to play as soon as he can, but the Pens should consider easing him back into play. Allow him to be on the ice for short shifts until he can get his in-game timing and stamina back.
And who will be on his line when he returns? Just imagine him and Neal on the same line. While Sid is a great goal scorer, he is also an incredible teammate who would love nothing more than to rack up the assists. Add Dupuis on the other side and this line may be the best in the NHL in scoring.
In other Pens news, Pens dads were at the arena this morning to watch practice as part of the Sixth Annual Dads' Trip. Each year fathers of the players, coaches, and staff are invited to participate. The trip includes watching practices, traveling with the team to two road games, and take part in all the day's activities. Hockey is such a time consuming sport, so this is a great time for the organization to spend time with integral members of their families. With Dan Bylsma at the helm, the Pens are a perfect 4-0 on Dads' Trips, 7-3 overall. General manager Ray Shero instituted the trip.
According to the Pens, Crosby will not play on Thursday in Tampa Bay, but he will be making the trip. Will his dad be in attendance on this trip? Troy Crosby, a former NHL goaltender has made all five previous Dads' Trips with his son. Other seasoned trip veterans include Henry Staal, Andre Fleury, and Rick Orpik.