Crosby injury shakes things up for Pens

PITTSBURGH – One of the reasons sports grabs us is the uncertainty.

You’re never quite sure what’s going to happen. There are worst-to-first scenarios (and that runs in the opposite direction, too) and breakout rookies who suddenly make a big difference. Remember when Ben Roethlisberger stepped in and saved a Pittsburgh Steelers season?

Of course, the uncertainty can drive us crazy, too.

Just a few days ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins had a crowded depth chart, and the issue was how they would deploy all the talent they had.

Forwards Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow, along with defenseman Douglas Murray, added to the organization and created some interesting dilemmas.

But just as quickly as those players came aboard, others left the lineup. The most conspicuous injury was Sidney Crosby’s broken jaw. The best guess is Crosby will be out for about four weeks.

The Penguins also lost two of their top defensemen. Paul Martin sustained a broken bone in his left hand, needed surgery and will be out for the rest of the regular season. Kris Letang broke a toe and is currently sitting out games.

Questions about who would play have been answered, albeit not in a voluntary way. Just when you think you have all contingencies covered, things happen.

Crosby’s injury was especially costly for obvious reasons. He’s arguably the NHL’s best player, and he was performing at a high level.

If there’s any good news at all, it’s that the Penguins maintain he doesn’t have any concussion-related issues. An errant puck shattered his jaw and scattered his teeth with the force of a punch from a heavyweight.

That landed him in the hospital for surgery, and he’ll have some more hours in the dental chair.

But, all things considered, it actually could have been worse.

Winter wonderland

It’s not the ideal baseball weather when snow wipes out batting practice.

That’s what happened to the Pirates on Monday. It was a cold raw day, with a cutting wind.

There’s a good chance hot coffee was more popular than cold beer.

When that happens, there are always cries to change the system, but there isn’t much that can be done.

With the extra round of playoffs, the season pretty much has to start when April does.

There’s no way all teams can open the season in warm weather cities or a domed stadium.

You take chances. This entire Cubs series will be affected by lingering winter conditions, but things figure to be better when the Pirates return for a 10-game homestand on April 12.

If you have tickets for either of this week’s game, bundle up.

Mehno can be reached at