Courtesy of Point Park University

Crosby, Rust injured in preseason finale


To continue reading, log into your account:

[theme-my-login show_title=0]
Sidney Crosby. -- AP PHOTO

Sure, the Penguins wanted to win the game.

And yeah, they were hoping to get their personnel combinations squared away and that power play in sync, too.

But what they wanted most out of their preseason finale against the Sabres Saturday at PPG Paints Arena was to have everyone come out of it healthy.

Failed, on all counts.

Buffalo beat them, 3-2, in a shootout, as Casey Middelstadt beat Matt Murray for the deciding goal in Round 6.

And while that result won't linger -- heck, some of the Penguins probably forgot it by the time they reached the locker room -- the impact of having two top-six forwards, Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust, injured during the game might.

Crosby, who was struck on the foot by a shot from Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella at 6:47 of the first period, went to the locker room with 1:44 left before intermission and did not return.

Rust, meanwhile, was hit in the hand by a Colin Miller shot while playing in a five-on-three shorthanded situation late in the third period. He adjourned to the locker room immediately after leaving the ice and did not come back.

Mike Sullivan said both were being evaluated after the game and that he expects to have "more definitive answers" about their status Sunday morning.

When Crosby left the game, Jared McCann stepped into his spot between Jake Guentzel and Brandon Tanev on the No. 1 line. Rust left the game so late in the third period that his place on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Dominik Kahun did not have to be filled.

Crosby stayed in the game for more than half a period after being hit by Scandella's shot, and reportedly was seen after the game walking with only a slight limp. Rust, on the other hand, was in obvious pain immediately after the shot hit his hand and left the ice at the earliest opportunity.

If Crosby has a lost-time injury, which is far from certain, McCann would be a logical candidate to take his place.

"He's a natural center," Sullivan said. "He's pretty good in the faceoff circle. I actually thought he had a better game when we moved him to center."

Rust, who scored the Penguins' second goal Saturday, has had an excellent camp and seemed to have settled in on the second line. If Alex Galchenyuk, who had been playing on Malkin's left before missing the past few days because of an unspecified lower-body injury that has the Penguins classifying him as "day-to-day," is able to return for the regular-season opener, Sullivan could simply move Kahun back to the right side, where he was used when camp opened.

If so, it's possible that Kahun, who has had a lackluster preseason, could be shifted to another line.

It remains to be seen what kind of impact, if any, the injuries to Crosby and Rust will have on the Penguins' final roster decisions over the next few days.

They must pare their major-league roster to no more than 23 players and get into compliance with the NHL's $81.5 million salary-cap ceiling no later than 5 p.m. Tuesday. That means that any players who will be waived as part of those moves must go on waivers by noon Monday, thus giving other clubs a full 24 hours to claim them.

For the moment, though, Penguins players are most concerned about the well-being of a couple of teammates who were injured in a largely meaningless game.

"The good thing is, the season starts here in six days," right winger Patric Hornqvist said. "So we have time to recover and go from there."

To continue reading, log into your account: