Sidney Crosby wouldn't miss a trip to Western Canada, even if he almost certainly won't play.
Crosby expects to accompany the Pittsburgh Penguins on their season-opening three-game road swing next week, despite not being far enough along in his concussion rehabilitation to play. Crosby, who last played Jan. 5, still hasn't been cleared for contact during practice — a necessary step before he can resume his career.
Because Crosby would miss two practices and three game-day skates if he doesn't make the trip, he is expected to travel unless his doctors decide they want him to continue his rehabilitation in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins leave Tuesday to open the season on Hockey Night in Canada in Vancouver on Oct. 6, Calgary on Oct. 8 and Edmonton on Oct. 9.
"We'll be starting with everybody going on the trip that's part of our group that's with us at that time," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Thursday. "Unless their rehab needs to be at a facility that's not part of the trip, they'll be going on the trip with us. So I anticipate that to be the case for Sid."
While Crosby still hasn't received the go-ahead to absorb hits in practice, he isn't discouraged by his recovery time — and is encouraged by his progress since training camp began Sept. 17.