Originally posted on Bleed Black & Gold  |  Last updated 2/14/12

With the Penguins’ captain out indefinitely with lingering effects from head and neck injuries, the city of Pittsburgh has embraced their other big time hockey star, Evgeni Malkin.  In my previous post I made mention of Malkin’s number over the past 3 weeks while leading the Penguins to a 8-2-1 record and it has some fans thinking “Sidney who?”.  While I’m in favor of the fans supporting the product currently on the ice, I would like to reiterate what Crosby brings to the to ice when he’s healthy.  Let us not forget that Crosby brings a level of skill that few players have ever compared to.  He was the youngest captain in NHL history when he first wore the “C”, he has lead the team to a Stanley Cup and he has made plays which I for one wouldn’t have believed without seeing, so while we all should be appreciative of Malkin’s performance, I still am not ok with putting Crosby on the back burner.

My argument is simple and was the same as it was a couple years ago when Malkin was playing the best hockey of his career up until now.  What will it be like when they both are on the ice and healthy?  Who will be the go to?  You’d have to imagine that it would be Crosby but right now, I would certainly not touch the line of Kunitz, Malkin and Neal.  Even if Crosby said he was 100% tomorrow and could play against the Ducks on Wednesday, please Dan Bylsma, don’t touch that line.  Crosby has plenty of experience playing with Pascal Dupuis and is capable of getting more out of him than any other center.  For the other line-mate, I say why not load up a young player like Dustin Jeffrey and if you aren’t comfortable with that, then make that move by trading a vastly underachieving Paul Martin to pick up another veteran winger because Ben Lovejoy is capable of playing at the same level or better than what Martin is currently playing at.

I’m simply arguing that you shouldn’t be changing chemistry at this point regardless of who comes back or what changes are going on around the team.  Someone as versitle as Crosby can bring the best out of a lot of players so it is for the best to not change what has been working so well with your top scoring line.

But Crosby returning is nothing more than speculation because as far as we all know, Crosby may not suit up for the rest of the season.  In the mean time, while we eagerly await for the return of Sid, everyone should sit back and watch the best player going in the world right now as he continues to produce and push the Penguins further up the standings.  It’s time for everyone to embrace Malkinmania!

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