Crosby's status uncertain for training camp
Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero said Monday that captain Sidney Crosby continues to recover from the concussion he suffered early in the year, and that no definitive decision has been made regarding whether he'll be ready for the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign.
Shero made the comments at a team function on Monday, hours after an internet report suggested the star player wouldn't be ready when the Penguins begin their 82-game slate in Vancouver on Oct. 6.
Shero said the report was inaccurate and, at best, premature, as training camp is still one month away.
"The good news is he continues to work out, he's worked out hard during the summer," Shero said. "We'll see where we are come training camp."
Shero stressed that at no point has Crosby needed to shut down physical activity, but also didn't guarantee that the star player would be ready for camp.
"There's no expectation from me that he won't be ready or he will be ready," Shero said.
The original report indicating he wouldn't play in early October came from Sirius hockey show producer Josh Rimer.
Crosby's agent, Pat Brisson, has not responded publicly.
Crosby was hit by Washington forward Dave Steckel and Tampa Bay defenceman Victor Hedman in consecutive games in early January. Steckel collided with Crosby while the Penguins star was turned, while Hedman drove him into the glass with a check.
The Cole Harbour, N.S., native had been on pace for the best offensive showing of his career, leading the NHL at the time with 32 goals and 34 assists.
The 24-year-old has expressed frustration with the recovery process, but said he would stay out as long as medically necessary.
He was back on skates in the public eye in March, but was never cleared for contact in practice or game action, including Pittsburgh's seven-game defeat in the first round of the playoffs to Tampa Bay.
Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said Monday he hasn't been given any indication that there is a cause for alarm in terms of Crosby's recovery.
"I don't think when Sidney Crosby is healthy and ready to go, he's not going to shy away from contact, nor is he going to shy away from competition," Bylsma said. "It would take quite a bit to keep him out of getting ready for the start of the regular season."
Crosby's injury has been at the forefront in the NHL as the league grapples with the issue of head shots in the game. Players such as Marc Savard, Peter Mueller, Matthew Lombardi, and David Perron have yet to fully recover from concussions and will either definitively miss the start of the regular season in October or are uncertain to be back.
Paul Kariya took the season off last year to recover from the latest of several concussions suffered in his career, but decided the risk wasn't worth it and retired in June.
Kariya said at the time that the league should start including teams and coaches in its suspensions over headshots to send a stronger message.
The NHL introduced a concussion protocol before the regular season ended for incidents on ice, and what it feels are stronger directives as to when to hit, or not hit, an opposing player.
Particular emphasis has been put on players in vulnerable positions.