The news that Sidney crosby will miss the start of training camp and should be absent for at least six weeks after undergoing a successful wrist procedure earlier in the day (September 8) is certainly not ideal, but ultimately it was in the captain’s best interest after exhausting all other options.
“Obviously we were all hoping we didn’t have to go down this route,” Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said. “In the end, we did everything we could to avoid that, but it was the best way to go. I think the goal was to get Sid back to 100%, or as close to 100% as possible. . It was the right way to go. “
Crosby has struggled with this injury for years now. He finished undergo arthroscopic surgery on the same wrist – his left – on August 31, 2020, and was fortunate not to miss a match. But at the end of last season, Crosby had to go through a process to determine if he could go through another year without having another surgery, which took weeks.
First off, Crosby had to let his body rest and recover after a shortened and condensed campaign that featured a lot of intense hockey in a short period of time. From there, they must have seen how Crosby’s injury reacted once he started to step up his training as the offseason progressed. After ruling out all minimally invasive options and much discussion, it was determined that surgery was the solution.
“I think if we, including Sid, had known about this a month or two ago it would have been great,” Hextall said. “But we’re where we are, and I think on the positive side, we have four weeks to go before we play a regular season game.”
The Penguins will likely be without their two franchise centers once the puck drops in the 2021-22 campaign because Evgeni malkin is still recovering after to have an operation on the right knee, which was announced on June 4. Hextall said an update on his status would be provided once they bypassed training camp.
“It will be a group effort to close the deficit that we have here,” Hextall said. “It makes no sense to cry about it. Every team is going through it, and we are going through it. We still have to find ways to win games. We need different guys to step in every night, and we’re going to have to play. a tough hockey brand. ”
Hextall said the Penguins have no plans to place Crosby, 34, and Malkin, 35, on the long-term injured reserve to try to add a marquee center. Because even if the team could exceed the salary cap during that time, they would have to come into compliance after they come back.
“We can’t add a big player here because they will both be back,” Hextall said. “This time of year you don’t replace players like that. I think we have guys from within who we’re passionate about.”
Hextall said that in the middle, Jeff Carter and Blue teddy bear are going to have more responsibilities, and they will need both centers to function. After that, Hextall said the following players would have opportunities that might not have been there under normal circumstances:
Evan Rodrigues: The coaching staff love the 28-year-old and management re-signed him to a one-year deal this summer. The versatile forward, who tallied seven goals and 14 points in 35 games last season, has already increased his injuries.
Radim Zohorna: The 25-year-old impressed Penguins executives during his rookie season with his ability to move quickly to the smallest area of the ice and adjust his game accordingly. “Big Z,” who is 6ft 6in and 220 pounds, is a power forward with a lot of potential.
Brian Boyle: Speaking of powerful attackers, Zohorna could learn a lot from this veteran. The 36-year-old was signed up to a pro tryout contract last week and brings a ton of height (6ft 6in, 245 pounds) as well as a ton of experience as he’s played over 800 games. over 12 years and over. NHL seasons.
Dominique simon: The 26-year-old is back for a second stint in Pittsburgh after spending last season with the Calgary Flames organization. Prior to that, he played five seasons with Pittsburgh from 2015-2020, playing 173 games and recording 64 points (19G-45A). He has good skill and a good sense of hockey.
Michel Chaput: The 29-year-old joined the Penguins organization this offseason after spending last year with Arizona. In total, he played eight seasons in the NHL with the Coyotes, Columbus, Vancouver and Montreal.
Hextall admitted that in addition to letting the guys find another level offensively, the Penguins will need to tighten their defense and goalies in order to weather the storm. But he believes they will and added that having a light schedule in terms of division games early on will help.
“We have enough talent to hold the fort until Sid comes back and then when Geno comes back,” Hextall said. “So we can’t wait to get them both back, and it will be like an addition to our squad. So we have a lot of work to do at the start of the season. We need to get off to a good start.”