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Crosby injury bad news for Pens, NHL

The high-ankle sprain suffered by Sidney Crosby on Friday night will keep the Pittsburgh Penguins' star out for six to eight weeks, the team said today. With teams so tightly bunched in the conference standings, it doesn't take a long losing streak for a team to drop a few places. This could be a huge blow for the Penguins -- if they can't win enough games without their captain, they might find themselves in a much more precarious situation when Crosby returns sometime in March.

This also means that Crosby will miss this Sunday's All-Star game as well in Atlanta, which may be a blow to the ratings. Last year's game on Versus drew an anemic 0.7 rating.

There was some hope that interest generated by this year's Winter Classic in Buffalo might improve the NHL's TV numbers, but so far, not so good. This year the league and NBC went to a flex schedule for its telecasts, not unlike the NFL's Sunday night flex plan, trying to select the game that would prove most popular. Sunday's Boston-NY Rangers matchup drew a 1.1 overnight rating, which is the same rating NBC earned for its first telecast last year. -- Joe Guckin