Ramblings: Crosby Returns, Sharks Hit with COVID, Red Hot Markstrom (Oct 31)

Ian Gooding

2021-10-31

Sidney Crosby finally made his season debut on Saturday, but neither he nor the Penguins received the result they were hoping for. Crosby was held without a point with a minus-3 with two shots in 19 minutes of icetime in a 4-2 loss to New Jersey. The Penguins have to be relieved that their captain is back in the lineup, but they are still far from a completely healthy group, as their line combinations would suggest.

TEDDY BLUEGER – BROCK MCGINN – ZACH ASTON-REESE

JEFF CARTER – JASON ZUCKER – KASPERI KAPANEN

SIDNEY CROSBY – EVAN RODRIGUES – JAKE GUENTZEL

BRIAN BOYLE – DANTON HEINEN – DREW O’CONNOR

BRIAN DUMOULIN – JOHN MARINO

CHAD RUHWEDEL – MIKE MATHESON

MARCUS PETTERSSON – JUUSO RIIKOLA

In other words, still no Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust, or Kris Letang. At least Jeff Carter was able to return as well, although like Crosby he was also held without a point and also a minus player. Carter actually played more than Crosby (21 minutes), so expect him to continue to be used in the top-6 while Malkin is out.

On Saturday, we were given another reminder that COVID is not over and will still affect our fantasy teams this season. With the Sharks having to place a number of players into COVID protocol right before puck drop, their game with Winnipeg was delayed. That delay created chaos for fantasy owners who were locked out from swapping out players like Erik Karlsson and Jonathan Dahlen due to the fantasy providers not updating the game's start time. Several other Sharks missed the game, as did coach Bob Boughner. Logan Couture also missed the game due to feeling "under the weather" but was not in COVID protocol.

With Couture and Dahlen out, the Sharks featured a top line of Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, and Alexander Barabanov. The new trio combined for a second-peri