Pittsburgh superstar Sidney Crosby has been diagnosed with another concussion just days before an NHL season in which the Penguins are expected to make a strong run at repeating as Stanley Cup champion.
Coach Mike Sullivan told reporters that Crosby was concussed at practice Friday and said there is no timing for the return of the two-time Stanley Cup champion and the reigning playoff MVP who led Team Canada to a World Cup of Hockey title two weeks ago. Pittsburgh made the announcement Monday as it prepared for its regular-season opener Thursday night at home against Washington.
“Our medical staff will take the appropriate measures moving forward,” Sullivan said, declining to reveal the specifics of how the concussion happened.
Crosby sat out a preseason game Saturday against Columbus because he wasn’t feeling well and missed practice Monday to undergo concussion testing.
The concussion is believed to be at least the third for the 29-year-old Crosby, widely considered the best hockey player in the world. He was limited to 69 games over two seasons from 2010-2012 following separate incidents. A broken jaw also ended Crosby’s lockout-shortened 2013 season.
Crosby has 338 goals and 600 assists in 707 NHL games. Four months ago, he led the Penguins to the fourth Cup in franchise history and was a finalist for the Hart Trophy with 85 points in 80 games.
“He’s obviously an important player for us,” Sullivan said. “We’re fortunate that we have the depth that we have. We believe we have capable people that can help this team win, and that’s how we’ll approach it.”
Concussions have been a thorny issue for the NHL in recent years, as they have for the NFL and other sports. The league stiffened penalties for hits to the head in hopes of reducing injuries, but more than 100 former players have sued the NHL and alleged it had the resources to better prevent head trauma, failed to properly warn players of such risks and promoted violent play that led to their injuries.