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The Early Lead
Posted at 10:18 AM ET, 11/22/2011

Sidney Crosby returns and it’s as if he never left


Sidney Crosby’s first goal Monday night, against Anders Nilsson. (Gene J. Puskar / AP)
Ten months away from competition and it seemed as if Sidney Crosby hadn’t missed a step. The only off-note on a night on which he had two goals and two assists? That mustache thing.

Still, he got a reception suitable for royalty. complete with camera flashes and SID signs. (You mean it wasn’t sports information directors night at Consol Energy Center?) He was clearly thrilled, too, to be doing what he does again, coming away with four points on two goals and two assists.

“I can't even describe it,” Crosby said after the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Islanders 5-0. “I was excited. I was anxious. I had a lot of different things going through my mind. But the main thing was just enjoying playing. That's what I've missed the last 10 months.”


(Jared Wickerham / Getty Images)
Crosby hadn’t played since he suffered a concussion in early January on a one-two punch in the Jan. 1 Winter Classic against the Washington Capitals and in a Jan. 5 game against Tampa Bay. The road back was a long one as Crosby struggled to recover from concussion symptoms. Cleared for contact for over a month, the Penguins and Crosby eased into his return.

“The summer was a little tougher than I thought it was going to be, but that's the nature of those things. It's not easy to really gauge,” Crosby said in an interview Monday night on Versus. “You have to be careful. I'm really happy to be back.”

He scored after all of 5 minutes, 24 seconds and played on 21 shifts in just under 16 minutes. Crosby took eight shots and won 14 of 21 faceoffs. Oh, and he took a couple of hard hits, too.

“A game like tonight, you run on adrenaline,” he said. “The next few games it will start to set in and it will be tougher.”

Buzzkill.

“We haven't seen it quite like that in a long time,” Pittsburgh Coach Dan Bylsma said. “To see him get the puck right there, I knew immediately their defense was in trouble. We've seen stuff like that before, but it kind of played out in slow motion.”

Crosby, as Puck Daddy’s Sean Leahy points out in his “Seven Facts about Sid’s Comeback Classic with the Penguins,” is “five goals behind Alex Ovechkin. Start the Sid vs. Ovie hype machine!”

Works for us.

By  |  10:18 AM ET, 11/22/2011

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