The slumping Pittsburgh Penguins will likely be without captain Sidney Crosby for about a week with an upper-body injury, head coach Mike Sullivan said on Thursday, per the team's official Twitter account.
Being without Crosby is one of the the last things the Pens - losers in six of their last seven games - need right now. The 31-year-old is still scoring at rapid paces, with eight goals and 19 points in 16 games this season.
Pittsburgh sits at a mere 7-6-1 on the season, and they're third-last in the Eastern Conference right now - only ahead of the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators. Without Crosby for at least a week, the Penguins will need the struggling forwards to help out Evgeni Malkin - who's carried the offense alongside Crosby all season.
Crosby obviously has long history with concussions and other long-term injuries, but he's managed to stay relatively healthy over the last five years. Since 2013-14, the Pittsburgh captain has played in at least 75 games each season. The most he's missed in a game over that time? Seven games in 2016-17.
Assuming Crosby is out for a week, that means he'll miss Thursday's contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Saturday's road game vs. the Ottawa Senators and next week's home games between the Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars.
What This Means
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford swapped Carl Hagelin for Tanner Pearson, trying to help the struggling Penguins find their groove again. However, Rutherford noted that he's not a patient man right now, and more trades could be on the way for Pittsburgh.
That means he wants the other forwards outside of Crosby and Malkin to start contributing more offensively. Without No. 87, the Pens simply need more out of their top-six forwards.
And if that doesn't happen, expect more moves from Mr. Rutherford.