Even though Sidney Crosby is a shoo-in to be chosen Tuesday as one of the captains who will pick the teams for the NHL all-star game, do not be surprised if he declines to participate, even if he recovers from his concussion.
The word filtering out of the Pittsburgh Penguins is that Crosby is an angry young man, angry enough to pull his considerable star presence from one of the league’s showcase events because he does not think the NHL is doing enough to protect its players. An NHL source said Crosby is not likely to tell the NHL he is withdrawing from the all-star game to protest the fact neither player who hit him on the head was suspended. However, he could easily decline and cite the need for complete recovery from a mild concussion.
The source said Crosby, who showed up at the all-star game in Montreal two years ago even though he sustained a knee injury and could not play, is not inclined to do any more such favours right now.
At this point, though, it is not known if Crosby, who has not played since he was hit from behind by Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman, will be healthy enough to participate. His agent, Pat Brisson, said Monday that Crosby is “progressing well but he has to be symptom-free before he resumes any physical activity. He says he feels better but he’s not there yet.”
With the all-star game less than two weeks away on Jan. 30, it is reasonable to assume the Penguins, who stopped giving daily updates on Crosby’s condition last week, would not be distressed if he took a pass. If Crosby elected not to play until Feb. 1 against the New York Rangers, the Penguins’ first game after the all-star break, it would be a recovery period of almost four weeks.
Brisson declined to say if he thinks Crosby will skip the all-star game. He did say from the standpoint of the injury “it’s all about timing. The game is coming quickly.”