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Crosby to return Thursday night

Sidney's back.

That's great news for Penguins fans.

The hottest team in the NHL (9-game winning streak) gets the best player on the planet back -- with apologies to Evgeni Malkin, the likely MVP.

There's only one question I have going into Thursday's return of Crosby against the first-place Rangers.

Will he finish the season?

My fear is he's the next Eric Lindros, someone who will be forced to retire because of concussions.

However, I'm not sold on Crosby being the next Lindros.

My hope is the neck injury was more of a cause of his latest setback than anything else. If that's the case, and he just happened to be an athlete who had a concussion, the Penguins will be fine.

With the playoffs near and the intensity higher than it was when Crosby made his brief return earlier in the season, I think we'll find out soon enough.


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So much for Byron the great backup

I never understood the Steelers' fascination with their backup quarterbacks.

They've had either Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich for what seems like ages now.

And when the Steelers really needed a backup, Leftwich couldn't deliver.

Leftwich rambled 31 yards for a touchdown Sunday against the Ravens, but other than that burst, the Steelers couldn't do anything on offense in a 13-10 loss that puts them in a bad position in the AFC North.

Leftwich, with his long delivery, looks better suited for the Pirates' bullpen than behind center.

He went 18-for-39 passing for 201 yards, but couldn't help a Steelers' offense that looks lost right now.

The Ravens came into the game with a weak defense. The thought was Leftwich could manage the game, the Steelers could find a running back to rely on and they'd escape with a win.

It didn't work out that way.

And it looks like we could see Batch at QB this week -- or someone else.

The Steelers are worried about Leftw…