Crosby, 34, made the trip to Tampa Bay and has begun practicing with the team, but he is still recovering from surgery on his left wrist that he underwent in early September. The initial timetable for Crosby’s return was six weeks.
“I won’t be in unfortunately,” Crosby said. “But … getting better, getting closer. Hopefully soon.”
When asked when he would be back, Crosby said, “It’s hard to say. Hopefully a week or two. We’ll see how things progress here.”
The Penguins are going to be short-handed against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. Center Evgeni Malkin is expected to miss the first two months of the season as he recovers from offseason knee surgery.
This will be the first Penguins opener without both Crosby and Malkin since 2003. Malkin is entering the final year of his contract.
Pittsburgh will also be without two other important forwards: Jake Guentzel and Zach Aston-Reese. Both players tested positive for COVID-19 during training camp. While they have cleared protocols, they are not yet ready to join the team on the ice.
Crosby led the Penguins last year with 62 points in 55 games. Guentzel was second on the team with 57 points in 56 games. Malkin was limited to just 33 games last season, missing six weeks after a collision with Bruins defenseman Jarred Tinordi on March 16.
The Penguins acquired 36-year-old Jeff Carter from the Kings last season, and he will be elevated to top-line center with Crosby and Malkin out.