Penguins coach said series lead won’t affect Sidney Crosby call

WASHINGTON, DC – Patric Hornqvist wasn’t sure who his center might be in Game 5 against the Washington Capitals. Which is fine by him.

“I can only play the one way,” he said, drawing laughs from reporters on Saturday at Verizon Center. “It doesn’t matter who my centerman is.”

Will it be Sidney Crosby? Potentially. Should it be Sidney Crosby? Depends on who you ask.

There’s been this low rumble of a notion among some Pittsburgh Penguins fans that if Sidney Crosby is a game-time decision for Game 5 – which, in fact he is – then it might benefit him to sit this one out and come back rested and ready for a potential Game 6 back home.

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After all, it’s a 3-1 series lead for the Penguins over the Washington Capitals. After all, the Penguins just defeated the Capitals in Game 4 sans Crosby.

But coach Mike Sullivan said the team’s advantage in the series won’t determine if Sidney Crosby appears in Game 5, either for the chance to rest him or for the necessity of knocking out the Capitals on Saturday night.

He plays when he’s ready, no matter the context.

“I think that we trust our doctors and the process that they go through. When then tell us they’re healthy and they’re cleared to play, then that’s all we need to know. As I said from the start: The health and safety of our players is always the priority. That will never change,” he said.

“Sid will be a game-time decision. He’s had a number of positive days. His status still hasn’t changed at this point, but he’s a game-time decision.”

The indications are strong that both Crosby and Conor Sheary will be back for the Penguins in Game 5. They both passed baseline concussion tests yesterday. Crosby skated in practice on Friday. Sheary was in Saturday’s optional skate.

If that seems like a rapid recovery from injuries suffered on Monday night, if might be because of another rumbling notion from NHL fans: That concussions have a mandatory week-long recovery period.

Except, as Nick Cotsonika of NHL.com noted, that they don’t:


Sullivan said that every injury is distinct.

“They’re all unique in their own way. Some recover quicker than others,” he said. “I don’t claim to know a whole lot about it. That’s why we trust the guys that do.”

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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