Found November 26, 2011 on Fox Sports:
The Penguins were arguably the NHL's best team without Sidney Crosby. After his successful return, a case can be made to remove the "arguably" and not just because of Crosby's individual talents. In the hours following Sidney Crosby's stellar season debut on Monday, so much of the media scurried to remove the "arguably" from "the Penguins are arguably the best team in the league." But lost amid the oohs and aahs of Crosby's offensive fireworks was not the skill that generated two goals and two assists, but the more important albeit intangible benefit. At least until Crosby's linemate, Penguins winger Chris Kunitz, pointed it out. "It was great to have Sid back, our captain and our leader," Kunitz said. "He adds so much to our team." Oh, yeah. How soon we forget. The Penguins didn't just lose their star and the league's poster boy for 10 months and 61 regular-season games. They lost their captain. For 10 months, Pittsburgh went without a C on one of its crests. And the alternate captains' As have been sporadically rotated, since letterbearers Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Brooks Orpik have all also missed significant time to injury. Crosby's return didn't just stabilize the roster, but more importantly the team's leadership. Not that the Pens were in disarray in Crosby's absence. Adjusting to a more defensive game with a bigger emphasis on puck possession allowed Pittsburgh to go 34-19-8 without Crosby in the lineup. And while logic almost demands to reason that a good team with one of the world's premier talents added can only get better, it's more than the points that Crosby offers Pittsburgh - it's the inspiration from a captain that's been missing. "Like I keep saying, Sid is a piece of the puzzle, probably the biggest one if you ask around," said Pascal Dupuis, Crosby's other linemate. "He is a piece of the puzzle but we do all play as a team and we all dedicate ourselves to the system. He's one of those guys that does it with more talent, with more awareness on the ice. He does everything the right way." The question going forward for Pittsburgh is whether that inspiration and added talent will balance the pains of adjusting to a new dynamic. Crosby's addition to the lineup didn't just bump Joe Vitale to a healthy-scratch status, it changed the roles of a lot of teammates. Malkin, James Neal and Steve Sullivan were having a great start to the season working as the top line. With second billing, that trio may suffer from reduced ice time, or it may thrive with more favorable line matchups. Staal, who had already netted 10 goals, now returns to a more defensive role as the third-line center. Kunitz may have gotten his old linemate back, but lost his spot on the top power-play unit to No. 87. And Steve MacIntyre, the muscle Pittsburgh brought in during the offseason to replace Eric Godard, may find more playing time if he's needed to ride shotgun with Crosby like Dave Semenko once did with Wayne Gretzky. As Penguins coach Dan Bylsma was quick to point out, there's still a lot of hockey left to play - after Monday night, 61 more games before the playoffs, to be exact. There will be plenty of time for team dynamics to change again. Crosby's return was just a start. But a good start at that. Atlantic Division Notes The New York Rangers will unveil the jerseys they will wear during the Winter Classic on Monday. Their opponent in that game, the Philadelphia Flyers, have already unveiled their home jerseys for the event. The Flyers' gear will be predominantly orange, with the standard team logo and black and white accents. . . . . The Rangers' roster for the Winter Classic Alumni game will include Brian Leetch, Adam Graves, John Vanbiesbrouck, Mike Gartner and Glenn Anderson with the coaching staff including Mike Keenan and Emile Francis. They will face a Philadelphia alumni roster that includes Bobby Clarke, Eric Lindros, John LeClair, Rick Tocchet, and Eric Desjardins skating for coach Pat Quinn.

NBC's Pierre McGuire talks 'Black Friday' hockey, Sidney Crosby

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Comeback Kid - Crosby's return inspires hype

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Senators-Penguins Preview

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Travis Yost: Gameday: Ottawa Continues Road Trip in Pittsburgh

Make sure to follow Travis on Twitter! -- Out of commission for nearly a full week, the Ottawa Senators return to action on Friday night, taking on Sidney Crosby and the surging Pittsburgh Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center. Ottawa's finishing the last leg of a six-game road stretch before returning home for a Sunday afternoon game against Carolina. So far, Ottawa's 4...

Crosby paces Penguins in win over Senators

Sidney Crosby set up a goal on his first shift and had three assists before the game was 10 minutes old in leading the Penguins to a convincing victory.

Crosby named NHL 'First Star' in first week back

Penguins center Sidney Crosby capped his first seven days back in uniform by being named the NHL's 'First Star' for the week that ended Sunday.

John Toperzer: GAMEDAY! Sid makes first trip to Canada in 2011-12

Pens (13-6-4, 5-5-2) at Canadiens (10-10-3, 4-5-3 Home), Bell Centre, 7:05 pm EDT Follow me on Twitter @JohnToperzer Sid Vicious: Another Side of Sidney Crosby What do you get when you deny hockey to the NHL’s greatest superstar for nearly a full calendar year? A whole lot of butt whipping, that’s what you get. This isn’t your grandfather’s Crosby...

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens – Game 23

Nice win last night for the Penguins. Sidney Crosby continues his blistering pace, notching three assists last night. Crosby now has seven points in three games. Other then that the game was actually kind of boring. The Pens basically put it out of reach early by taking advantage of opportunities. They still played sloppy at [...]

Pundays: Sid Vicious

It was a week of Thanksgiving... and you can bet for sure that the good folks at the Pun Headline Writing Department are thankful that Sidney Crosby is back where he belongs... on the front page. Good thing didn't blur his mouth. Click here to check out the best and worst Sidney Crosby headlines from the past 11 months!!! By now, everyone knows...

Ottawa Senators (10-9-2) at Pittsburgh Penguins (12-6-4), 7 p.m. (ET)

Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins will wrap up a three-game homestand tonight versus the Ottawa Senators at Consol Energy Center.

Penguins now 3-0-1 since Crosby's return (AP)

Kris Letang returned from being bloodied by a hit late in regulation to score 2:09 into overtime, giving the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night. Letang scored his third goal after James Neal poked the puck free from Carey Price as Pittsburgh improved to 3-0-1 since Sidney Crosby returned to the lineup.

The Week Ahead

It was a fun-filled week in the National Hockey League this Thanksgiving week. Now that it is out of the way, it is time for us to focus on "The Week Ahead", where we will look at the "Three Stars of the Week", "Three players to keep an eye on", "Two Teams to Watch", "Game of the Week", and of course, "Other Games to keep an...
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