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Sidney Crosby probably won’t be back for Pittsburgh’s first playoff game

Apr 10, 2011, 8:00 AM EDT

78133_penguins_crosby_hockey AP

To some, this might seem like a no-brainer of a sentiment, but all indications point to Sidney Crosby missing at least Game 1 of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ first round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Despite participating in game-day skates with his teammates for more than a week, Crosby still has two unspecified steps to take before he can even be cleared for contact, according to Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma admits that he doesn’t know how fast Crosby will get back into NHL action — if it even happens during this postseason — and continues to tell reporters that there isn’t a time table for their star player’s return.

As tough as it’s been for Crosby to miss so much time during what was looking like the best season of his already incredible career, watching his team fight through the playoffs without him should be even more difficult.

That being said, I’m among the many who believe that the Penguins should err on the side of caution with Crosby. Beyond the obvious question of how far Pittsburgh can really go without Evgeni Malkin in the fold to help out, the biggest issue is his long-term health. As tempting as it might be to get him back in the fold, Crosby is only 23 years old. It’s possible that he may never be the same after these bouts with concussions — the more we “learn” about the injuries, the cloudier the issue becomes — but rushing back into action greatly increases the likelihood of another injury.

If he ends up sitting out during the entirety of the playoffs (as painful as that might be), Crosby would have the chance to come into training camp without incurring any wear and tear since January. Considering his hectic hockey schedule, he might not get another breather like that for the next 10 years (maybe more).

The Penguins have done a nice job of managing big-picture decisions with being brave enough to make moves for the present, but we’ll have to wait and see how well they handle this conundrum.

So far, the future is still pretty unclear, but we’ll let you know as additional information surfaces.

  1. psujay - Apr 10, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    The NHL does not need another generational lost to concussions, like Lindros. People forget Lindros was only 23 when the injuries started because he, like Crosby, had 5 years in the league. The Pens are right to sit him out, until next year if need be. I think Crosby will recover much better than Lindros because in the 90s we called it “getting your bell rung” and players were rushed back. I just hope Crosby comes back as healthy as ever.

    • psujay - Apr 10, 2011 at 10:15 AM

      generational player*

    • armchaircurmudgeon - Apr 10, 2011 at 6:00 PM

      Crosby is a teammate of Matt Cooke. I personally hope someone “rings his bell” a bit more when he’s back playing again. If the rest of the league has to put up with Cooke’s blind-side elbows to the head, then the Penguins, especially Crosby, should get the same treatment in return.

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