The anticipation about Sidney Crosby's return to work, and everything associated with it, has bordered on breathless for nearly a week.

Every aspect of his impending comeback, it seems, has been discussed. Then dissected. Then discussed again.

• How long he will need to get acclimated to game conditions. (Or, more to the point, if the time required will be better measured in seconds or shifts.)

• Whether having him back might dull some of the urgency in his teammates' work.

• How quickly Crosby and his linemates will jell and, if they don't, how long it will be before he gets new ones.

• Whether getting him back will allow the Penguins to make a serious run at overtaking the New York Rangers for first place in the Eastern Conference, something unfathomable just a couple of weeks ago.