The Sidney Crosby waiting game is in full reboot mode. The Pittsburgh Penguins star is back on the sidelines indefinitely after absorbing a number of hits in a game eight days against Boston.
“I don’t think ‘frustrating’ even describes it,” said Crosby, to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Monday.
The league’s marquee player sat out the Penguins recent two-game trip for precautionary reasons. But Crosby admitted the time off didn’t cure the way he was feeling.
He did pass the initial baseline concussion test last week, just a day after the Boston game.
“You have to listen to your body,” he said. “Passing ImPACT (baseline test) was encouraging, but it’s not everything. . . . My ImPACT was much, much worse after I did it in January. This is just something I’ve got to be careful with.”
Crosby maintains the concussion symptoms are nothing close to what previously kept him out for 61 games and nearly 11 months. However, he is taking no risks.
“I’m not feeling bad,” Crosby told reporters. “Just have to be careful and make sure I’m 100 per cent before I return.”
The former NHL most valuable player was a huge hit in his return last month from a concussion that sidelined him early last January. In his first game back, Crosby scored twice and added a pair of assists against the Islanders on Nov. 21. In the eight games since his return, Crosby has 12 points.
“It is obviously frustrating for Sid,” coach Dan Bylsma said to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Sid knows his body better than anybody else. He is not feeling 100 per cent. He will return to practice and playing when he is feeling 100 per cent.”
Crosby will continue light work outs.
The Penguins are dealing with a veritable concussion epidemic.
While the focus has centred on Crosby, defencemen Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek are both dealing with slight concussions. Centre Tyler Kennedy also suffered a concussion earlier in the year. Pittsburgh is also missing centre Jordan Staal with a lower-body injury.
Despite the rash of injuries, the Penguins continue to flourish and stand just one point behind Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia.
Crosby’s initial concussion was sustained on Jan. 1 when then Washington Capital David Steckel hit him. Just four days later, Crosby took another hard knock from Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman.
Crosby suffered through serious headaches, light and sound sensitivity for months. He did attempt to join the Penguins during the playoffs, but the conditions resurfaced.