That first comeback was almost too much. Sidney Crosby, returning from an absence of almost 11 full months, recorded 12 points in eight games from Nov. 21 through Dec. 5.

He was the best hockey player on the planet -- as he was in those glorious final three months of 2010 when he routinely flummoxed goalies, frustrated defensemen and frenzied the NHL with an offensive assault unseen since the guy for whom the Penguins unveiled a statue of Wednesday played.

That Crosby was back just before Thanksgiving but gone by Christmas.

Crosby will not play today against the Boston Bruins at Consol Energy Center. However, as he speeds closer to another comeback, the Penguins are living in a new world, one in which they don't need him to wear the cape.

"He doesn't need to be Superman," coach Dan Bylsma said. "He doesn't need to come back and save the situation."