Hawks also in awe of Crosby's return

The buildup was long and painful, but it was all worth it when Sidney Crosby returned to the ice Monday night. Dave Sandford/Getty Images

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Count several Chicago Blackhawks among those who are in awe of the return of Pittsburgh Penguins’ star Sidney Crosby after missing over 10 months due to a concussion.

“I expected him to come back and be a great player but to have four points after two periods, that was pretty impressive,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said Tuesday. “It’s fun to watch [but] hopefully he slows down when we see him. But it’s good for the league to have him back.”

Crosby helped the Penguins to a 5-0 shutout of the New York Islanders on Monday, scoring twice while adding two assists. It was his first game since Jan. 5 after dealing with the affects of multiple concussions.

The Hawks were flying from Las Vegas to San Jose when the Penguins were playing the Islanders but when they landed Sharp and teammate Patrick Kane immediately checked the outcome.

“I sit in front of Sharp on the plane, and he got off and I had my phone on already so I checked the score and saw it was 5-0 after the second or whenever,” Kane said. “Then I looked at the top players on my ESPN application on my phone and it said ‘Crosby, two and two’ [two goals, two assists], seven shots on goal and like a plus-3 or something. We just looked at each other and shook our heads. It’s pretty amazing with that time off he could come back and do that stuff.”

The Hawks are rooting for a healthy return to the game for Crosby despite a Dec. 20 matchup in Pittsburgh.

“He’s done so many great things for the sport, and he’s been one of the most dominant players this century,” Kane said. “He’s fun to watch. He’s a guy that players like myself and other younger players can learn from, and he’s great for the league.”

Coach Joel Quenneville added: “He’s a special player and good for our game.”