Sidney Crosby is months removed from winning his second Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe Trophy and only weeks ago was dominating the World Cup of Hockey en route to the tournament title and MVP award. But none of that makes Monday’s news better, as the Pittsburgh Penguins announced Crosby has been diagnosed with a concussion.
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford released a brief statement Monday, with coach Mike Sullivan adding that the injury occurred during practice Friday and there’s currently no timetable for Crosby’s return to action. Crosby sat out the Penguins’ pre-season contest on Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Sullivan said that Crosby had come to the rink but was “not feeling well and we went from there.”
Crosby officially underwent the concussion testing Monday, and it was at that point he was diagnosed with the concussion.
For a player to be diagnosed with a head injury is always tough news, but it’s especially difficult to hear regarding Crosby given the struggle the Penguins captain — who happens to be almost inarguably the best player in the world — has had with head injuries in the past.
During the 2010-11 campaign, Crosby suffered his first major head injury, resulting from a check to the head during a Winter Classic game between the Penguins and Washington Capitals. Following that hit, which was delivered by Dave Steckel, Crosby suited up for one more game before hitting the shelf for the final 41 games of the regular season and the first seven playoff contests for the Penguins.
Crosby’s battle with head injuries didn’t end there, though. Concussion symptoms crept back up as the 2011-12 campaign approached, and Crosby missed the first 20 games of that season, and he returned for a short while only to be sidelined again for 40 games due to another concussion.
All told, the concussion battle spanned 101 games, but since Crosby returned for the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, concussions haven’t cost him any time. That is, until now.
The Penguins will no doubt be patient with Crosby, allowing him as much time away from the rink as he needs to recover, and while he’s away it will be up to the rest of the organization — which is coming off of a Stanley Cup victory and boasts remarkable depth — to step up and take the reins.
But the fact of the matter is that when the Penguins open their season Thursday against the Capitals, they’ll have to do so without their leader and best player, and there’s no knowing when Crosby will be back.
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