Penguins' Brass Conflicted About Sidney Crosby's Return

As Sidney Crosby continues to miss games with a concussion, things are reportedly getting tense within the Penguins' organization over what to do with him the rest of the season. Mark Madden says on his blog that team officials are conflicted about the star center's future.

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Penguins hockey ops wants Crosby to play again if reasonable opportunity beckons. The business side of the operation is leaning toward concluding that bringing Crosby back this campaign would constitute risk beyond potential reward. Protect the long-term investment at the expense of the current season.

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Madden favors shutting Crosby down for the season, questioning whether or not he could even be at his best for the playoffs with a return in mid-March or later. This seems to be a prudent position at this point in time. With all the injuries the Penguins have suffered so far, it's doubtful they'll be able to make much of a Cup run this season with or without Crosby, so bringing him back might do more harm than good if he's not 100%.

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Besides, who doesn't love an underdog story? The Pens figure to be an Eastern Conference heavyweight for at least a few more years after 2010-2011 with Crosby and Evgeni Malkin likely returning to the lineup. It might be cool for fans to root on a patchwork underdog this spring for a change of pace.

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