Sidelined since before the all star break (with the exception of an apparently mistimed return) one of the NHL's marquee players will step back onto the ice on Thursday night.
Sidney Crosby who has missed 28 of the Pittsburgh Penguins 31 last games, will finally pull on a game day sweater and see how things go with his troublesome high ankle area.
While he was away from the day to day game action, his team was busy climbing the standings, they currently are but one point away from claiming first overall in the eastern Conference. They were also particularly busy at the trading deadline. moving players around the NHL, including a close friend and roomate in Colby Armstrong. He was part of the deal that brought Marian Hossa to Pennsylvania, one of the NHL's premier scoring threats and now the new linemate for Sid the Kid.
Due to a bit of bad injury karma, Crosby returned for his brief skate in March just as Hossa went down with his own injury, now with both back in game shape, they will finally play together on an offensive line.
A much anticipated set up since the trading deadline day and one which will be under particular scrutiny Thursday when the New York Islanders arrive in town.
Many have been wondering how the two will match up as line mates and Thursday provides the test tube for the Penguins playoff gambit. The Penguins who made those bold moves at the deadline have seemingly decided that this could be their year to make a run for the Stanley Cup, the health of Crosby's ankle and the chemistry that will need to be developed quickly with Hossa will tell the tale as to whether the Pens will be carrying the Stanley Cup sometime in June.