Crosby's return shifts the East

Updated: March 13, 2012, 6:52 PM ET
By Craig Custance

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The anticipated Thursday return of Sidney Crosby impacts two opposing franchises more than any others -- the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers. Pittsburgh has suddenly pulled within four points of the stumbling Rangers while the Flyers have been battling to keep pace in the Atlantic.

But in speaking with general managers of both teams, it's clear the bigger picture is the focus rather than what it means to their franchises. The bottom line is that the league is a better place when Crosby is playing.

"The fact that they're adding Sidney is good for the league," Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said. "It's good for them. It doesn't change the fact that we have to play them three times and try to win."

Said Rangers GM Glen Sather: "He's a great player. It's great for the league. It's great for Pittsburgh. He's the best player in the world."