Sidney Crosby is this week’s second star in the NHL, after his sizzling hat trick on Sunday night. The Penguins captain broke 40 goals for just the second time in his illustrious career, while retaking the lead in the Rocket Richard race and tying Connor McDavid for the league-lead in point.
The 29-year old Crosby is doing most of his damage 5-on-5, leading the league in even strength goals with 28. His dominance comes in just the fourth year of his twelve-year, $104.4MM deal he signed in 2012. The contract sees him cause just an $8.7MM annual cap-hit, mostly because of the three extremely cheap seasons tacked on at the end. That means Pittsburgh will only have to pay a 35-year old Crosby $3MM in 2022-23, likely still an unbelievable bargain.
- Olli Maatta and Kris Letang were both spotted out early today in Pittsburgh by Will Graves of the Associated Press. It’s still unclear when the two will return to the lineup, but it is an encouraging sign to see them back on the ice after lengthy absences.
- The team will not bring Evgeni Malkin with them on their road trip to Buffalo and Ottawa as he continues to rehab an upper-body injury that he’s been dealing with. The star center hasn’t played in the last two contests since leaving practice early last week.
- Bryan Rust was not just on the ice, but returned for the practice in full this morning, skating in a regular jersey. He hasn’t been confirmed for the game tomorrow but did say that “there’s a game [he’s] shooting for.” Rust hasn’t played since leaving a game earlier this month against Colorado.