Tonight, #87 takes to the ice again, in a return that hockey fans have waited 10 months for. Crosby took a hit to the head on January 1st and then suffered a concussion four days later on January 5th. Tonight, as we anticipate puck to drop, Crosby was met by 250 members of the media at his locker. This is said to be the same amount of media that followed the team during 2009 Stanley Cup Finals. The comeback is larger than life for Pittsburgh hockey fans, and for any fan of the NHL. The NHL feels like the NFL without Peyton Manning this season. It is great...but something is missing. The return of Crosby is important for the NHL as many worried as to when they would actually see Crosby return to the ice. As the games continued to be played last season, and Crosby was not making progress, I began to worry when we would actually see him take the ice again. Surely for the start of this season many thought...But he was not ready when camp started, and he continued to progress slowly. After 20 games this season, the time has finally come. Pittsburgh enters with a share of the most points in the Eastern Conference, tied with divisional foe, Philadelphia.
In half of a season last year, Crosby scored 32 goals, had 34 assists and a +/- of 20. The 66 points he was on pace for would have been a career high. He was also on pace for a career high in goals (64) surpassing his previous high by 13. The NHL has long awaited their main star to take the ice again. The whole game changes when Crosby takes the ice and tonight will be an exciting night for the NHL. I'm expecting a goal as he takes the ice at home against the Islanders.
UPDATE: Crosby impressed in his debut, scoring 2 goals and getting 2 assists. I predicted one, but he did far better than that. It is good to see him take the ice again.