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It’s been 360 days since the Covid-19 pandemic caused Pittsburgh Penguins fans to last I could see a game in person in the PPG Paints Arena
You’ll have to wait at least a few more to see the team captain for similar reasons.
Sidney Crosby will not play in Tuesday’s home game against rival Philadelphia Flyers as he is placed on the NHL’s list of absences in connection with the league’s protocol for Covid-19.
Trainer Mike Sullivan announced Crosby’s status after his team’s morning skate was canceled due to protocol.
To be added to the list – which is usually updated every day after 5pm. – does not necessarily mean that Crosby tested positive for covid-19.
According to the NHL, a player can be added to the list for any of the following reasons:
« (1) an initial positive test that remains unconfirmed until the completion of the confirmatory testing according to the positive testing protocol; (2) mandatory isolation for symptomatic individuals according to the positive test protocol; (3) Quarantine as close high-risk contact required by the protocol for positive tests; (4) isolation based on a confirmed positive test result and / or; (5) Quarantine for travel or other reasons, as set out in the covid-19 protocol. »
NHL teams are not allowed to disclose why a player was added to the list.
« Just because someone is on the Covid protocol list doesn’t mean they have Covid, » Sullivan said via video conference. « There are protocols that were put in place for a reason. We will do our best to try to adhere to the protocols. We will control what we can to give ourselves the best chance of winning. We can’t worry about that Doing things that are beyond our control. »
Crosby is the third Penguin player to be on the list since the start of the season. He was preceded by striker Kasperi Kapanen and defender John Marino.
Kapanen was on the list earlier this season after a delay in obtaining a work visa resulted in his being quarantined after entering the US from his native Finland. Marino was on the list for two days in early February for reasons that were not disclosed.
In 20 games this season, Crosby is the Penguins’ top scorer with 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists).
While the morning kate was canceled, the game remains scheduled. In an email, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly stated that the game would continue « as a result of additional testing that was conducted and additional information was gathered and analyzed. »
How the penguins will replace Crosby in the line-up remains to be seen. Sullivan said roster moves, such as a taxi squad recall or Wilkes-Barre / Scranton of the American Hockey League, were discussed with management.
In reality, there is probably no way you can actually replace one of the best players in the NHL if he’s not on the line-up.
« It’s hard, » said Sullivan. “We all know how good he is as a player and what effect he only has on his game. Only the impact it has on our dressing room and on the bench affects us in so many different areas. It is not easy to replace it with any route. But we’ve had this experience in the past and we’ve found ways to be successful. It should give others an opportunity to reinforce themselves.
“We have a number of people on our list who have played center or can play center. Jared McCann is someone who can play center. Sam Lafferty can play in the center during his game (street games against the New York Islanders Saturday and Sunday). So we have a number of different people that we can get into that middle ice position. We will try to get the best possible line-up that will give us the chance to win. »
At this point in the season, the team will likely need a bigger contribution than their other franchise center, Evgeni Malkin, to raise hopes of victory. In 20 games, Malkin has 12 points (four goals, eight assists).
Throughout his career, Malkin has regularly given the team a boost when Crosby is repeatedly absent.
« His game is coming, » said Sullivan. “We have the feeling that things have been going in the right direction here for a few weeks. In my experience as a coach, when Sid wasn’t on the line-up, (Malkin) finds another level in his game. We need that from him in order to be successful. But he has certainly shown in the past that he was able to stand up for us and fill this void. We hope he can continue to do so. »
Tuesday’s game is the first in the PPG Paints Arena that fans have been participating in since March 8, 2020. The Pa Department of Health has allowed the team to open the venue at 15% capacity.
« We’re really excited, » said Sullivan. « They are such a big part of the experience. It was not easy playing here in empty buildings for a while. Our players really appreciate the opportunity to have fans back in the building. We look forward to the experience. We are grateful for the loyalty our fans are showing during this difficult time. … I know that our players appreciate that. »
• Sullivan said goalkeeper Tristan Jarry will start. In 14 games this season Jarry has a 7-6-1 record, an average of 3.14 goals against average and a saving of 0.894 percent.
• Sullivan said injured striker Mark Jankowski, usually the center of the team’s fourth line, will be sidelined for the third year in a row due to an unknown injury. He skated with members of the taxi squad along with defenseman Brian Dumoulin and striker Evan Rodrigues, each in an injured reserve with unknown complaints.
• Defender Juuso Riikola (not disclosed) remains in the injured reserve and should take part in the morning skate session before being canceled.
• The flyers should start the goalkeeper Carter Hart. This season, Hart has played 12 games and achieved a 6-3-3 record, an average of 3.35 goals against average, a saving of 0.899 percent and a shutout.
Seth Rorabaugh is a contributor to the Tribune Review. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or on Twitter.
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