Sidney Crosby injury update: Latest news on Penguins star’s status for Game 6 against Rangers

The Penguins are one game away from advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals, but they’ll have to try and close out the Rangers without their captain.

Sidney Crosby did not participate in the Penguins’ morning skate Friday, and Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said the franchise icon will not play in Game 6. 

Crosby left Game 5 with an upper-body injury after he collided with Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. When he left, the Penguins were up 2-0. The Rangers proceeded to score five of the next six goals on the way to a 5-3 victory. 

Still, with a 3-2 lead and home ice for Game 6, the Penguins have their destiny in their own hands. What is Crosby’s injury and how long will he be out? Here’s everything we know:

What is Sidney Crosby’s injury?

Crosby appeared to suffer the injury in the second period of Wednesday’s game. The Pens captain was trying to reel in a bouncing puck when Trouba caught him high in the head with a flailing elbow. Crosby got up off the ice and finished his shift. He even took the ice for two more shifts, according to NHL.com.

However, the two-time Hart Trophy winner left the ice shortly thereafter and would not return. The team offered little information on his status after the game and the following day, saying only that he was being evaluated. 

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Will Sidney Crosby play in Game 6?

Friday morning, coach Mike Sullivan announced that Crosby would not take part in Game 6.

Crosby participated in a session with skating and skills development coach Ty Hennes, but did not feature in the full team’s morning skate, according to Mike DeFabo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

It’s a massive blow for a Penguins team that had been rolling under his leadership. Crosby had nine points in five games, including a three-point scoring outburst in Game 4.

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How long is Sidney Crosby out?

There’s no timetable on Crosby’s return at present. The 34-year-old center tried to skate it off during Game 5 but was unable to do so.

He also has a long history with head injuries (more on that later), which makes Trouba’s hit especially concerning.

Sidney Crosby injury history

Crosby has dealt with his fair share of head injuries over the course of his glittering career. Crosby was at the peak of his powers in the early 2010s. However, he couldn’t stay on the ice, missing 41 games in 2010-11, 60 games in 2011-12 and 12 games in 2012-13 due to concussions.

“When you get a typical injury you’re given a time frame, you’re gradually working towards getting back,” Crosby told Josh Hargreaves of the Globe and Mail in 2013. “With concussions there is not generally a time frame or a span where you’re feeling better. You feel like you’re getting better and it can be one day and you’re back to where you started. It’s a frustrating injury and one that anyone has gone through can relate. It’s a hard one to understand unless you’ve gone through it.”

Crosby had been relatively healthy in the years following, capturing the Hart Trophy in 2013-14 and never missing more than seven games from 2013-14 to 2018-19. He suffered a pair of concussions in that stretch, though: one at the beginning of the 2016-17 season that caused him to miss the Pens’ opening six games, and one in the 2017 playoffs that kept him out for a game.

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Who will step up in Sidney Crosby’s absence?

It’s going to be a tough ask for the Pens without Crosby. They had been running like a well-oiled machine throughout the first four games, scoring seven goals each in Games 3 and 4. However, there are a few players who might be able to replicate some of Crosby’s production.

Expect longtime teammate and fellow Penguins legend Evgeni Malkin to make the step up from the second line to the first on Friday. Malkin is a former Hart Trophy winner in his own right. And although the 35-year-old Malkin is far from the player he once was, he contributed 42 points in 41 games in 2021-22, a testament to his effective playing style.

Another player to look out for will be Jeff Carter.  At his best, Carter was a dynamic goal-scorer capable of finding the net 30 to 40 times in a season. His production has slowed as he’s aged, but Carter still can make his presence felt in the middle; at 6-foot-3 and 219 pounds, he towers over most players. Carter has scored three times in the series, including a wicked deflection in Pittsburgh’s Game 4 romp.

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