Sidney Crosby is not expected to be ready for the start of the regular season after the Pittsburgh Penguins captain had surgery on his left wrist Wednesday.
The 34-year-old center will be be sidelined for a minimum of six weeks.
The Penguins open the season at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 12. A six-week recovery for Crosby would end Oct. 20, meaning he would miss four games and return Oct. 23 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Crosby had surgery on the same wrist last offseason.
“Sid’s been dealing with this for numerous years now,” Pittsburgh general manager Ron Hextall said. “So at the end of the year, you let the body heal. Test things out. There’s just a process that takes weeks to figure out where the wrist is at, whether he can get through another year. Some point, you wrap things up along the process, along the way. The conclusion that we came to was that this procedure was the best way to proceed. I think we all, including Sid, wish we had known this a month or two months ago. It would’ve been great. But we are where we are, and I think on the positive side, we have four weeks until we play a regular-season game.”
Center Evgeni Malkin will be unavailable for training camp following right knee surgery and could also be sidelined for the start of the season. The Penguins said June 4 that they were hoping to have a time frame in September. Malkin was injured March 16 against the Boston Bruins and missed the last six weeks of last season (23 games), and Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup First Round against the New York Islanders.
Crosby was 10th in the NHL last season with 62 points (24 goals, 38 assists) in 55 regular-season games and a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award, given annually to the most outstanding player in the NHL. Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid was voted the winner by members of the NHLPA.
Crosby is a three-time Stanley Cup champion (2009, 2016, 2017) and has twice won the Hart Trophy voted as the NHL most valuable player (2007, 2014).
The Penguins (37-16-3) were first in the eight-team MassMutual Division last season. They lost in the first round in six games.