There's a reason this night and this game was picked. It had nothing to do with the Islanders. It had nothing to do with anything other than Sidney Crosby himself. He wasn't going to return until he was 115% ready. Sure, he has some conditioning to take care of. Sure, we won't see him on the penalty kill for a while, if ever, considering how the PK is doing so far this season. But he wasn't stepping onto the ice until he knew he could go out there and compete at the same level we all saw him at toward the tail end of 2010. And nothing has changed. Other than obviously the Penguins organization and Pittsburgh media, no one has a better grasp on Crosby's play than Pens fans. We all know what we watched last night. No one saw anything that suggests Crosby has lost a step or "something's not right." In fact, he looks even better. The nightmare of him going scoreless for the first couple games and media members starting to chirp about Crosby's condition? Those visions were completely washed away not even 6 minutes into the game by Crosby himself. We'll never have to deal with it. Crosby is back. And he looks possessed.
It's hard to give the reminder of staying the course after a night like last night, but it's a good thing, because the future looks to be incredible. Michalek silently made his return to the lineup last night, and Ray Shero is at long last watching his full roster as he's envisioned it. The rest of the NHL is scared, and so is Phil Kessel, who saw his points lead over Sidney Crosby shrink to 25 last night. He's coming, Phil.
We got some more shit after the jump. Join us.
Anthem pic of the night:
Via Lisa and Here It Comes from the mail room
Quick cap of shit.
Crosby's goal looked somewhat familiar. Fast-forward to the :40 second mark.
It was the moment we were all waiting for, with either anticipation or dread: the first hit on Sid. Travis Hamonic delivered it, and we almost stood up and cheered the hit. It was clean. It was clearly within the rules. Crosby dusted himself off and answered it how he always has. If people are gonna boo every time Crosby gets bumped, there's gonna be some sore throats come April.
Ice time for Crosby was 15:54. He was averaging 21+ last season. If this was a 1-1 game in the third, that 15:54 number would have been dwarfed.
Lost in CrosbyMania was the reopening of the harbors surrounding Michalek Island. What a performance.
Lost in your mouth: the season Pascal Dupuis is having. He is hovering around the top 30 in scoring in the NHL. And that was without Crosby.
Just enjoy Malkin's pass here:
Remember that time Islander fans were all tough on the Internet? We don't either.
How in the world does Ricky DiPietro not start in this game?
Speaking of old Ricky, per Darren Dreger, DiPietro stole the game puck before Penguin staff could get it. What an asshole. Crosby wanted it for either the win and/or Fleury's shutout most likely.
66 Pigeon gets our vote for fan of the game. In this pic, he's in the process of putting down a beer to assist the officials with the glass while the surrounding people are probably pulling out their cameraphones. A true champion.
Judging from this pic, 66 Pigeon came running down from his seat to help the officials. Further proof of his heroism. That one lady is apparently on the brink of sheer terror, while the blond girl on the glass is out of control.
Here's a pic of the Hart Foundation. Cleary underage.
What are you doing, Tavares.
Horrible incident involving Cooke and Eaton. Eaton made his own bed, though, interfering with Cooke headed up ice. Eaton has a strained MCL.