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Sidney Crosby’s condition improving, no timetable to return; Wants head shots punished

Sep 7, 2011, 2:41 PM EDT

Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby AP

After a long wait, Sidney Crosby has finally spoken up about his condition in recovering from a concussion suffered back in January. Crosby hasn’t spoken with the media about how he’s doing since April and with reports that had been coming out almost weekly about how Crosby wouldn’t be able to start the season, it was Sid’s turn to clear the air.

As it turns out, we found out that things are progressing as slow as ever for Crosby but not because he’s having continual setbacks but rather because he and his doctors want to get him to 100% before having him engage in anything physical.

Flanked by Dr. Ted Yarrick and Dr. Michael Collins as well as Penguins GM Ray Shero, Crosby had his condition best laid out by Dr. Collins even comparing Crosby to a Ferrari when it comes to his normal physical condition.

The big news, however, is that Crosby isn’t close to returning and Dr. Collins says that he has “no earthly idea” if Crosby will be ready to go on October 6 when the Penguins open the season in Vancouver. Crosby, however, remains highly positive through this long process.

“Mentally I feel the best I’ve felt. It’s been a tough road. I did not give a lot of thought to (retirement),” Crosby said.

Collins’ assessment of how they’ll continue to do things with Sid The Kid is pretty straightforward.

“We’ll introduce contact in a systematic, careful way. The prognosis is excellent that he won’t have long-term problems from the injury.”

“I’m optimistic Sid will have a very long, fruitful career.”

As for how long the Penguins are going to wait things out for Crosby to get better, Penguins GM Ray Shero said, “He’s worth the wait. He won’t be rushed.”

When Crosby was asked about head shots and what should be done about them, Crosby was very open about eliminating them from the game and hopes that the league will be even more proactive than it has been in doing so. Crosby intimated that the game is already great and that taking out head shots, whether intentional or not, would only allow the game to continue to be great.

Hard logic to argue with there although we wonder just how accidental shots to the head would be punished either on or off the ice. Sometimes things just happen, but Crosby says guys have to be responsible no matter what.

“A guy’s got to be responsible with his stick, why shouldn’t he be responsible with the rest of his body when he’s going to hit someone,” Crosby said. “Whether it’s accidental or not accidental, you’ve got to be responsible out there.”

While Crosby continues to rehabilitate and improve and will eventually get back to action, he’s got an important position now if he chooses to take it. He can become the guy that leads the charge in changing the NHL culture that pooh-poohs shots to the head and in a league where concussions are all the talk, it’s one crusade that Crosby could be a game-changer for the betterment of the league.

  1. abrienza428 - Sep 7, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    It was great to see the stares he gave to people when they asked about retirement. You could tell he was adamant about declaring he’d be back, and as he mentioned later, “likely” this season. He answered those questions with no hesitation, which was comforting.

    Can’t wait to see him back.

  2. sonofsamiam - Sep 7, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    What about groin shots Sid? Should those be punished?

    • fcs34 - Sep 7, 2011 at 4:28 PM

      Why punish anything right? I mean the NHL is so popular the way it is. Just look at all the comments.

      • stakex - Sep 7, 2011 at 6:42 PM

        @fcs34 – The NHL’s lack of popularity has nothing to do with headshots, fighting, or anything like that. It has to do with the fact most Americans cannot relate to hockey…. and that the sport is actually too fast for them (the biggest complain I hear from people who don’t like hockey). Most Americans would much rather watch a slow/boring sport like baseball then watch hockey. Thats just the way it is, and banning headshots will not make hockey any more popular to those people…. not at all in fact.

        All pansifying the sport is going to do is make hardcore hockey fans walk away. Hell, I’m pretty close to not watching the NHL anymore myself with all the new rules that have completely changed the game over the last 6 years.

      • polegojim - Sep 8, 2011 at 12:29 AM

        @fcs34… finally stakex and I completely agree.

        If you hate hockey so much, why are you here?

        According to your logic… where’s the ProSoccerTalk site or ProLacrosseTalk site? Those must be HORRIBLE sports too, since no one is talking about them either!

        Hockey will always be a minor sport in this country because first loves are baseball and football. That’s it, pure and simple. Most hockey fans come from north/northeast, where ‘ice/winter’ sports are more widely followed… for obvious reasons.

        Hey, why aren’t we talking about that nastiest of nasty sports… ProCurlingTalk…those brooms can get violent. Or… ProFigureSkatingTalk…you know those guys play with BLADES and actually THROW each other all over the ice!!! How horrid, makes me shiver… Then why not ProRollerDerbyTalk… ProWrestlingTalk…

  3. pastabelly - Sep 7, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    I feel badly for Sid. But screw any team that employs the likes of matt Cooke. He ended Savard’s career and Cooke is still a criminal on the ice.

    • polegojim - Sep 8, 2011 at 12:39 AM

      @pastabelly – yes, Cooke has been nasty and deserves all the negative comments… but I fear too many ‘new’ hockey fans don’t remember where the game was compared to where it is now.

      I mean seriously… what’s a ‘Gordie Howe Hat Trick’? What would some ‘modern’ hockey fans think about that old style play today?

      NHL has done a LOT of changing to gain more mainstream fans… some of us believe it’s gone to far, but we also realize it’s a business and appealing to more fans means more revenue. And, there is most definitely the human element. Guys are faster and stronger than ever before.

      At some point though, the game is the game. Watch it or don’t, right?

      • pastabelly - Sep 8, 2011 at 3:30 PM

        I don’t remember seeing these head shots by players like Cooke in the 70s and 80s, especially when players weren’t wearing protective helmets or even the smaller ones. Guys like Gordie Howe and other tough guys didn’t play the game like Cooke.

        My point on Cooke is how hypocritical Lemieux has been about all of this. Lemieux wants to clean up the game. Well, let him clean up his own team first. It’s disgusting.

      • polegojim - Sep 9, 2011 at 12:25 AM

        I think the fact that they didn’t have much head protection bad then minimized high hits, since both would suffer.

        The helmets and pads give today’s players a sense of false protection. Kind of a double-edged sword.

  4. polegojim - Sep 8, 2011 at 12:19 AM

    I TOTALLY agree with punishing obvious head hunting…

    But….come on Sid, at the speed of skating, a guy only has to move a little bit for an ‘in motion’ check to end up on the head.

    I’d also like to see punishments/penalties for whinning, but that’s not going to happen.

  5. bsputnik - Sep 8, 2011 at 3:12 AM

    Love Sid, love the Pens. But if he or the team wants to lead this charge on head shots, they need to keep Cooke in line. Supposedly, Cooke is working on the issue. He says it isn’t his intent to injure, he says he wants to change to play within the rules.. Only his play will show if he has/can change. Last year the team suffered in the playoffs without his presence. Hopefully, that taught him a lesson and can clean it up this year. The Pens are a better team with him. But if you can’t count on him being there, you need to get someone who you can count on.

    Pastabelly, not defending Cooke, obviously it was a dirty hit (even though the NHL seems to disagree), but shouldn’t you blame Matt Hunwick for ending Savard’s career with an equally dirty hit? That was the hit that did him in. If Cooke’s ended his career, Savard’ wouldn’t have played again. But to blame that hit, you just hate Cooke (which is fine) and want to blame him no matter what. But it wasn’t JUST Cooke. Blame them both.

    Again, not defending the hit, I’m just saying.

    • pastabelly - Sep 8, 2011 at 3:37 PM

      Hunwick’s hit on Savard had little to do with Savard’s career ending. The hit wasn’t dirty. Savard was a dead man walking or skating and whether it was Hunwick or someone else who hit him, nobody really denies that it was the Cooke headhunting hit that really ended Savard’s career. I don’t hate Cooke. I don’t know him. I have heard he does charitable work. Great for him. I don’t think he belongs in the NHL and I think Lemieux is a joke for employing him on the one hand and saying he wants to clean up this type of play on the other hand.

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