PITTSBURGH -- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby left Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage midway through the second of two 25-minute segments. He skated off the ice, grabbed his sticks and walked toward the locker room at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
No one specific play stuck out for a reason why Crosby may have left the ice. He did not return.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, in accordance with the NHL's new injury and illness policy during the COVID-19 pandemic, said he was "not permitted to comment."
Crosby's linemate Conor Sheary was also asked about the mood on the ice after the captain's departure.
"I don't even need to touch on that," Sheary said. "I think it's just a maintenance thing. I don't think it's anything."
The scare highlights one of the challenges NHL clubs face as they ramp up for an unprecedented postseason. The layoff was so long. Training camp is so short. It's critical to simulate game-like situations before jumping immediately into an elimination-style hockey. At the same time, the Penguins are enjoying unexpected health due to the four-month injury pause. Most notably, Jake Guentzel looks ready to go from Game 1. Maybe it's best not to waste it during an intrasquad scrimmage.
There's certainly a fine line to walk to keep the intensity high enough to get players ready for competition but also not take it to such an extreme that important players aren't healthy in Toronto.
"The training camp is important for everyone to get ready and the game will be important," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said before camp. "For me, the most critical thing is getting the players through these next few weeks and getting them into the bubble healthy. That's the priority right now."
Crosby skated with his familiar linemates during the segments in which he participated. Guentzel was back on his left wing and Sheary on the right. When Crosby left the scrimmage, rookie Sam Lafferty stepped in, helping to set up one goal and scoring one of his own.
The black team, which featured the top-six forwards and goalie Tristan Jarry, beat the gold team, backstopped by Matt Murray, 7-0.
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