The high that Penguin fans had going into Saturday quickly came down after Sidney Crosby took a deflected shot by Brooks Orpik to the jaw. Amongst the jubilation of their 15th straight win that day, and the chocolate rabbits and celebration of Easter Sunday, the team announced that Crosby would be out indefinitely with a broken jaw.
Another tough break for one of the best players in the National Hockey League right now. A high ankle sprain, a concussion and now add the broken jaw to the list of ailments that have kept Sid out of the lineup since 2008.
The reaction to the news has fans down. While they might be dissapointed, it shouldn't spell doom and gloom for this Pittsburgh squad. Unless you have just fallen off the turnip truck just outside the Fort Pitt tunnel, you know that the Penguins have made it through the storm without their captain before.
In 2008, the Penguins lost Crosby to a high ankle sprain. The team pushed on without him and eventually, he returned to lead them to the team's first Stanley Cup Final in 16 years.
The 2011 NHL Winter Classic in Pittsburgh brought on the long, excruciating concussion for Crosby. A concussion that at one point questioned Crosby's future in the game of hockey.
Steckel's hit on Sid in the game sidelined him for over 11 months. A return in November of that year was short-lived as Crosby was sidelined again until March 2012.
While the lockout delayed the start of the 2012-2013 season, fans and the hockey world were excited to see Crosby back for a "full" season. Since the season started up in January, Crosby has not disappointed. While he isn't leading the league in scoring, he is still putting up stellar numbers as a playmaker.
The aquisition of Brenden Morrow and Jarome Iginla gave the Penguins a lineup that fans were dying to see and one that some dreamed about during the trade deadline.
All that anticipation and excitement lasted only 1:28 into Jarome Iginla's debut as a Penguin. All the energy was sucked out of another standing-room only sellout at Consol Energy Center, with a concerned fanbase looking on, remembering Crosby's past injuries thinking "Oh great. Here we go again."
There is no getting around the fact that Crosby gives his team a boost. But even without him, the Penguins should be fine as they make a run for the best record in the league and they have geared up for a long, Stanley Cup run that he may or may not be ready for in late April.
Fans can feel bad for Sid, especially since he can't shake the injury bug after all that he has been through since 2011. But to be upset because he won't be a part of the Iginla and Morrow showcase through the first part of April is silly and shows the narrow-mindedness of even the biggest fan with a high hockey I.Q.
The Penguins have shown they can play with their captain sidelined. This season, they have been better at facing adversity in tough game situations. If yesterday's performance against the Islanders can be repeated with same level of effort, they should be alright.
Be glad Ray Shero is the general manager. Can't imagine the fan reaction if this happened with Iginla in Boston and no Morrow in the lineup.