Cumberland Times-News

Local Sports

January 7, 2013

Penguins eager to get back to business

Sidney Crosby: ‘It was ugly for everyone and we’re happy to put it behind us.’

PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby isn’t sure what took so long. Well, maybe he does, but the Pittsburgh Penguins captain is way past the point of caring or placing blame.

All Crosby knows is that hockey is back. And four months of endless sparring between NHL owners and players on a new collective bargaining agreement is over after the two sides reached a deal over the weekend to salvage the season and — hopefully — ensure at least a decade of labor peace.

“We know there’s a lot of frustration, we were frustrated, everyone was,” Crosby said on Monday. “It was a difficult situation. It was ugly for everyone and we’re happy to put it behind us.”

In the end, that — well, that and leading the Penguins back to the Stanley Cup — is all that matters.

It’s why Crosby’s smile looked a little wider than normal after an energetic 90-minute session for about a dozen Penguins at a suburban Pittsburgh ice rink.

For the first time since the Penguins were knocked out of last spring’s Stanley Cup playoffs, Crosby wore an official practice jersey instead of the NHLPA gear he and his teammates donned during semi-organized workouts during the lockout.

The assembled Penguins — including goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, defenseman Brooks Orpik and winger Pascal Dupuis — also got to have a seat in their actual dressing room afterward rather than the men’s locker room they’d been using during the lockout.

It wasn’t much, but it was a step toward normalcy for a team and a league that is eager to get back to business. A shortened season of between 48-50 games will start later this month, and the Penguins expect to be in the mix well into the late spring.

First things first, however. While the players don’t expect any sort of major blowback from fans — it was the owners who locked them out after all — the team knows there may be some jangled nerves to calm for a fan base exhausted from the third work stoppage in less than two decades.

Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux offered an apology on the team’s Web site on Monday, saying “there is nothing we can say to explain or excuse what has happened over the past four months,” but adding the team will do “everything” it can to rebuild trust.

Getting back to playing would make a nice start. Coach Dan Bylsma believes the Penguins can hit the ground running thanks to a core led by a healthy Crosby and reigning MVP Evgeni Malkin, who is expected to return to the U.S. after spending the lockout playing in the Kontinental Hockey League in his native Russia.

“We’ve been ready for this situation,” Bylsma said. “It’s a short amount of time, but for our team, our players, there’s a lot of familiarity. We have a lot of people back. It’s not a huge adjustment.”

Even if Bylsma admits the first few post-lockout hours were a little weird. He found out a deal had been reached early Sunday morning and started to receive a steady stream of texts from his players, most of which read like excerpts from an “awkward first date.”

It’s to be expected after months of no contact, though it shouldn’t take the Penguins long to get up to speed. There are very few questions on the roster, the most pressing being who will play alongside Malkin and James Neal on the second line. Outside of that, Pittsburgh will look much like the team knocked off by Philadelphia in six games last April.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • Angels Orioles Baseba_Land.jpg Orioles fall to Angels in 13 innings, 1-0

    Albert Pujols put Los Angeles in front with an RBI single, and the Angels held on for a 1-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles that averted a three-game sweep.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Post 13 eliminated, 5-4 Post 13 eliminated, 5-4

    Funkstown Post 211 used a three-run first inning and a pair of single-run innings, and limited the damage on Fort Cumberland Post 13’s 11 hits to notch a 5-4 victory to advance and eliminate the tournament host Thursday in the third round of the Maryland American Legion State Baseball Tournament at Hamilton Field.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Hold on a minute ... we know these guys

    Tom Bosley says this isn’t the Garrett County revival of “Space Cowboys”. They’re just getting the band back together — Bosley, Don Stemple, Oren Yoder and Matt Redinger. They’ve been there, done that, and they’re ready, willing and able to be there and do it again.

    July 31, 2014

  • Pee Wee football openings exist

    The following teams of the Tri-State Pee Wee Football League have openings for players, ages 6 and not yet 12: Cumberland Cardinals, contact Norm Spencer, 301-697-0420; Cumberland Raiders, contact Chad Hamilton, 240-362-1800; Cresaptown Eagles, contact Dave Freeman, 240-727-0302; LaVale Lions, contact Ken Ward, 301-616-4773, and Ridgeley Hawks, contact Grant Shoemaker, 301-697-7657.
    Players interested in playing for the Cardinals should report to Bowers Field Monday, Aug. 4, 6 p.m.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sports Calendar - 08/01/2014

    July 31, 2014

  • Manziel battling playbook, Hoyer in first NFL camp Manziel battling playbook, Hoyer in first NFL camp

    Johnny Manziel has quickly learned his college days — on the field anyway — are over.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Tennis star Wozniacki to run NYC Marathon Tennis star Wozniacki to run NYC Marathon

    Caroline Wozniacki always feels confident she can outrun her opponent on the tennis court.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ridgeley, Lakeview advance to finals

    POTOMAC PARK — Blake Rhodes doubled and singled twice while Wyatt Yates and Caleb Hare singled three times to power Ridgeley to a 14-4 victory over the Cumberland Kiwanis for a sweep of the Hot Stove League’s National League Championship Series Wednesday at Hamilton Field.

    July 31, 2014

  • Laurel’s Jake Snyder Laurel tops defending champs

    POTOMAC PARK — Falan Garner had three hits and chased home a pair of runs and Laurel held of a furious ninth-inning rally by Funkstown to beat the defending state champs 9-8 Wednesday afternoon at the Maryland American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Memorial Field.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Sports Calendar - 07/31

    July 31, 2014