The NHL All-Star game lost two of its biggest attractions Thursday when Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and hometown favorite Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets withdrew because of injuries.
In a statement issued Thursday afternoon the Penguins said Crosby would miss the All-Star Game and weekend festivities because of a lower-body injury that he had been playing with for a while. They also said he will miss the team’s first game after the break because of an NHL mandate stipulating that a player who opts out of the All-Star Game cannot play in the next regular-season game unless that player had also missed time before the All-Star break. Crosby, who played in the Penguins’ game against Chicago on Wednesday, ranks sixth in league scoring with 15 goals and 51 points in 43 games.
Crosby has played in only one NHL All-Star Game, in 2007. But that requires some context: The league doesn’t stage an All-Star game in Olympic years, and there was no game in 2013 because of the lockout that delayed and shortened the season.
Malkin, who ranks fourth in scoring with 19 goals and 51 points in 45 games, did not play for Pittsburgh on Wednesday because of what the Penguins called—wait for it—a lower-body injury. The club’s news release said there was no timetable for his return.
Bobrovsky, one of three Blue Jackets chosen for the game, was injured during Columbus’ game on Wednesday and underwent an MRI on Thursday. He was replaced by St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott, who leads the NHL with a 1.86 goals-against average and is fourth in save percentage (.930).
Malkin was replaced by Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg, the league’s top rookie scorer this season with 15 goals and 40 points. There was no immediate word on who will replace Crosby.
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