Next up for Senators: The Crosby Show

Next up for Senators: The Crosby Show
Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators scores during the shootout against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

On the scale of grand NHL comebacks, Matt Carkner’s imminent return ranks only slightly below Sidney Crosby’s spellbinding comeback Monday, following his 10-month absence due to a concussion.

In case you were visiting a remote island and somehow missed it, Crosby scored two goals and two assists in the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-0 win over the New York Islanders.

“That’s easy, I can get two and two, no problem,” said Carkner, the Senators rugged stay at home defenceman, who is recovering from knee surgery. “We’re talking two hits and two turnovers.”

Coach Paul MacLean added to the sarcasm, labelling Crosby as “an okay player”.

The Senators don’t have to wait long to see him first hand. Crosby and the Penguins are next up on Friday, as the Senators play their sixth straight road game. (It’s hard to label it as a road trip, considering the Senators are here at home for four days before flying to Pittsburgh on Thursday).

As impresssive as Crosby was Monday, his smashing return didn’t surprise defenceman Sergei Gonchar, who played with Crosby in his first five seasons in Pittsburgh.

“Sid is Sid,” Gonchar said. “Those things are abnormal for everyone else, but for him, it’s normal. He’s coming back like he never missed a step.” Gonchar says there are countless areas where Crosby excels, including his speed and awareness of what’s going on around him, but it’s his dedication that makes him rise even higher.

“The most important thing is, probably, that ability to work,” Gonchar said. “I’ve never seen a superstar working as hard as he is. If you look at him, he’s preparing himself. He’s probably the most prepared player that I’ve ever played with. “I kind of expected that he would be in great shape and play the way he did, but I didn’t expect him to score that many points in one game. I thought, timing wise, it might take him a while longer.”

Jason Spezza echoed Gonchar’s comments.

“He’s a special player, it was a special night for him,” Spezza said. “I can’t say I’m surprised. We know how hard he works and it shows that he took his time and made sure he felt 100 per cent and not jump in before he was ready.”

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson described Crosby’s comeback as “pretty amazing.”

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