Big blow awaits all-star show

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. (DAVID DeNOMA/Reuters file photo)

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. (DAVID DeNOMA/Reuters file photo)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:41 AM ET

PITTSBURGH - Don’t expect to see Sid The Kid at Scotiabank Place for all-star weekend.

After the starters were voted in by fans, the rest of the roster for the Jan. 26-29 showcase will be named by the NHL’s hockey operations department Thursday.

One big name will likely be missing: Sidney Crosby.

The Penguins superstar, sidelined with concussion symptoms suffered only three weeks into his comeback, sat out his 13th straight game Tuesday when the Senators paid a visit to Consol Energy Center. There is still no timetable for his return.

“I don’t have an update,” Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. “He is in light exercise. He is exercising. What that is, in terms of heart rate and activity, is different on different days.”

While it’s possible the NHL could name Crosby among the 36 players selected to fill out the all-star roster and later choose a replacement, nobody in Pittsburgh is optimistic he’ll play anytime soon.

Many wonder if Crosby will even play again this season.

Though the Penguins are hopeful he’ll return for the playoffs and that’s Crosby’s intention, even if he does play before the all-star weekend, it would appear the show will have to go on without him in Ottawa.

“It’s a big blow for the league,” said Senators centre Jason Spezza, who was voted a starter. “He’s the marquee guy. He’s the best player in the game. He’s the face of the league. He’s great with the media and just his presence alone will be missed.

“You hope for the best and you hope he’ll recover, but hopefully we can still put on a good show ... But it’s definitely sad not to have him there.”

OFF THE GLASS

G Craig Anderson debuted a new mask vs. Pittsburgh. While he unveiled his Senators heritage mask earlier, Anderson was forced to get another helmet because his was cracked by Florida D Jason Garrison on a blast Dec. 22 in Ottawa. “It’s pretty rare (to have one crack),” said Anderson. “It’s got to be a pretty good, hard shot. Accuracy to hit guys in the head is talent. Spezza could do it, he is good at shooting at targets: 4-for-4 in the skills competition.” The new mask is similar to the design artist John Pepe has used in the past. It features a stylized Corvette, which is all Anderson requests. “He’s the artist. He’s not telling me how to stop pucks so we’ll leave it at that,” said Anderson ... Pittsburgh D Ben Lovejoy is still trying to find his jock strap after the move LW Nick Foligno put on him in the first. Foligno got Lovejoy to pivot, then set up RW Bobby Butler’s goal at 14:01 of the first. Jason York called it “The Nicky Shuffle.”

THE MORNING SKATE

D Sergei Gonchar might get a call from the league over his cross-check on buddy Evgeni Malkin after his second-period goal. The department of safety frowns on such behaviour and Gonchar gave Malkin a good one. The Penguins star was slow getting up ... Senators C Jesse Winchester has suffered a setback in his recovery from a concussion. “The concussion he has is significant. The other day when he tried to exercise, he had symptoms again,” said coach Paul MacLean. “We have to be patient.” ... A big Jays fan, Spezza was thrilled to meet 3B Brett Lawrie, C J.P. Arencabia, and Ps Ricky Romero and Casey Janssen Sunday. In town for the club’s Winter Tour, they dropped by the Senators dressing room. “It was pretty cool to meet those guys,” said Spezza. “I try to go to (six) games a year and I watch them on TV a lot. I’m a Jays’ fan.” Spezza said Romero is one of his favourite players.

THIS ’N’ THAT

D Matt Carkner was supposed to be a scratch until it was announced Erik Karlsson was out with a upper-body injury. MacLean said he’ll rotate Carkner and Brian Lee in and out of the lineup to keep both active. Of course, that could change if Karlsson is out for an extended period ... Bylsma on 39-year-old Daniel Alfredsson: “He doesn’t look a day over 37.” ... Just when you thought Foligno’s was a highlight-reel goal, Spezza’s effort that chased G Brent Johnson in the second was sick as Spezza tapped it home from below the goal line.

THE LAST WORD

MacLean had fond memories of former St. Louis GM Ron Caron, who died Tuesday at age 82. Caron acquired MacLean from the Wings in a trade. “The Prof was a real dear man,” said MacLean. “He gave me my first coaching job in Peoria. He was a real character, he brought a lot to the game and he was really good to me. It’s sad for the game for not having a character like him around anymore.”


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