Roenick: Sid's potential return Sunday adds 'jolt'
Friday, 03.09.2012 / 3:03 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight
By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer
Jeremy Roenick understands why there is an amped up Crosby Watch for a nationally televised Sunday matinee on NBC (12:30 p.m. ET). The ex-NHLer turned NBC Sports analyst says it should be escalated and promoted simply because it'll make for an even better matchup between the Penguins and Bruins.
"The possibility of Sidney Crosby coming back on national television gives a jolt to not only the Penguins, but the fans in Pittsburgh, Boston, Toronto, everywhere," Roenick told NHL.com. "Wherever you may be, everybody is waiting for this guy to come back. It's early to tell, but it adds to the excitement."
However, Roenick also said he doesn't believe the wait for Crosby will have an effect on Pittsburgh's preparation for Sunday's game.
Crosby said Friday he still isn't sure about his status for Sunday because he needs to take more contact in practice. If he doesn't return against Boston, the Penguins' schedule is favorable for him. Their next game is Thursday against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
"Dan Bylsma has this team in a zone and he has them wired to not be thinking about Crosby," Roenick said. "He has them thinking they're going to play the whole season without him and that's how they go into every game. That's a perfect way to coach a team with a star player out."
Boston has no such concerns, even though injuries are very much a part of its identity lately with Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley, Andrew Ference, Daniel Paille and Tuukka Rask all sidelined. Consistency, though, has been one of the Bruins' biggest problems for the better part of the last two months.
Their win Thursday against Buffalo gave them their first winning streak since Jan. 10-12. They will look to make it three in a row Saturday at home against Washington before they travel to Pittsburgh.
"When you have a quality team like Boston, success is going to continue to breed. (A two-game winning streak) is going to make them feel better," Roenick said. "That's a dangerous team when they're feeling that way and that is good for Boston, because coming down the playoff run here they need something to spark them. They know how hard it is to win a Stanley Cup, and now they need to make sure they start amping their game up.
"Not only is it nice to string two together, but then to play Washington and Pittsburgh back-to-back is good."
There is a possibility that Marty Turco will play in one of the next two games. He took the bulk of the shots in practice on Friday.
Turco, who was signed earlier this week to spell Rask, is not eligible for the postseason, but Roenick said it's essential he gives Boston three or four good games to allow Tim Thomas to have his proper rest before the playoffs begin.
"That's the reason he's there, and that's a good reason," Roenick said. "Thomas is going to pick up most of the load for the rest of the season and he knows that, so it's going to be easy for him to get zeroed in and concentrate on his game. That's important. He loves the action, loves to have the ball in his court. I look for Thomas to be one of the better goaltenders going into the playoffs."
Roenick is also looking forward to Crosby being in the Penguins' lineup sooner rather than later.
"If he comes back and plays Sunday this is going to be an even better matchup," Roenick said. "Let's hope it's a start for the rest of the season for Crosby if it happens."