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Fantasy Spin: Crosby cleared for contact

by Sergei J. Feldman
He's baaack --- well, almost.

Ten months after going down with a concussion, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has officially been cleared for full contact, a giant -- though incremental -- step forward in his recovery from a concussion he sustained after big hits in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 and the Pens' next game on Jan. 5.

As thrilling as that news is for Penguins' management, coaches, players and fans, it's just as thrilling for fantasy hockey owners.

Crosby's return from IR -- remember, there's been no official timetable set for his return to game action -- could transform your roster completely and elevate your team to a championship level.

When healthy, Crosby is arguably the world's best player, be it the real world or fantasy world. Prior to suffering the concussion, he was putting up points at an other-worldly pace, to the tune of 66 points (32 goals) in 41 games.

How soon, if ever, Crosby can return to that kind of production level remains to be seen. On the other hand, it's possible that Crosby was just scratching the surface last season. After all, Wayne Gretzky did predict that if anyone could break his records, it would be Sid The Kid.
But suppose it takes Crosby some time to get back to that form. Or that he never reaches that level  again. Regardless,  Crosby's likely game-in, game-out contribution would rival that of most any player in the League today.

Sidney Crosby
Center - PIT
Goals: - | Assists: - | Pts: -
Shots: - | +/-: -
Bottom line, Crosby is a must-have fantasy hockey roster option. If not for his production alone, consider the ripple effect. Penguins forward Chris Kunitz, who recently signed a two-year extension with the club, suddenly becomes that much more valuable as a fantasy player, assuming he plays alongside Sid. If not Kunitz, how about James Neal? Imagine the potential potency there. Or Steve Sullivan? Kris Letang.  The list goes on.
So as you wait for Crosby to return to game action and join the Penguins roster, you better hope he found a place in your fantasy rosters, too.
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