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What to do with Sid, Ctd.

The great Tommy H chimed in on the last post with the following:

“Staal as a winger to Sid is not a bad idea, but I don’t think you are going to see it. Having the best 3 center combination in the NHL goes a long way, and we really haven’t seen it since 2010. I also would rather keep Staal with Cooke and Sullivan as Cooke compliments Staal’s defensive strengths, and Sullivan provides them with a pass-first mentality who is confident with the puck (especially in the last 10 games). I think putting Dupuis with Sid and TK could work (and maybe Jeffery!), but things are going to have to be tweaked moving into the playoffs.”

Assuming this is the way it goes, your first three lines become:

Kunitz-Malkin-Neal
Dupuis-Crosby-Kennedy
Cooke-Staal-Sullivan

In this configuration the scoring by line to this point of the year looks like: line 1) 87 goals (ha), line 2) 23 goals, line 3) 46 goals; where in my world it goes:  line 1) 87 goals, line 2) 38goals, line 3) 22 goals. Sid’s presence on the second line in Tommy’s scenario theoretically would create three lines with at least one extremely difficult player to stop. Distributing the wealth.

But would it actually work this way?

When Sid was blowing up the league at the start of the ‘10-’11 season he had Chris Kunitz on his wing. Kunitz provided a measure of on-ice protection for Crosby as well as a physical net-front presence that gave goaltenders fits and required the attention of opposing defensemen (and he’s got pretty good hands to boot). Staal plays a less net-front style of game but his size and his newly-discovered ability to finish plays requires similar attention from defensemen.

I get concerned with the idea of Sid on a line with Dupuis and Kennedy because  they aren’t particularly physical and they do similar things (with the exception being Kennedy has been somewhat of a shift killer lately and Dupuis has been all over the place). Who throws the checks on this line? Who gets into the dirty areas? I don’t want to see a line where it’s Crosby’s primary job to grind along the boards trying to create opportunities for Kennedy so he can shoot the puck into the goaltender’s chest. (Plus, when was the last time you saw Kennedy set up ANYBODY for a goal?)

The idea of Jeffrey being on a line with Sid is something I can support experimenting with. Jeffrey has a couple inches and about 20 pounds on Kennedy and has shown flashes of being a really effective player, although he is consistently scratched in favor of Eric Tangradi for reasons that escape me. (FUN WITH NUMBERS: In the 17 games Tangradi has played this season the Penguins have won 13, including 11 straight; a span over which Tangradi’s line is 0G, 1A, -1, 10PIM and 11 shots. I don’t know what this means, but there it is.) Additionally, the idea that Jeffrey will crack the lineup with another healthy body taking up a roster spot doesn’t seem reasonable.

(Thiswill be another issue for Bylsma; who to scratch on a nightly basis. Park? Asham? Vitale? I would not want to make that decision.)

For me this all boils down to putting Sid in the best position to succeed while keeping Jordan Staal involved as a key component of the offense. It seems to me Staal has benefitted from Crosby’s absence by moving up to the second line and getting to play with more offensive-minded players. I think Staal on a line with Sid will take some pressure off Sid while allowing Staal to reap the benefits of playing alongside the world’s best player, and in the process it  creates another line that is incredibly difficult to defend against. Teams sell out against the Malkin unit, putting their checking line and top d-pairing out against them as often as possible. Lately that’s been working.  A Staal-Crosby-Dupuis line would put an end to all that.

The good news is there doesn’t seem to be a wrong answer to the question of what to do with Sid when he returns to play. Maybe Sid’s greatest attribute is the way he makes everybody he is on the ice with better, so it makes sense to believe that no matter where he ends up things will work out.

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What do the Pens do With Sid?

March 6, 2012 2 comments

Honest, guys, I totally planned on writing a post about last night’s game. I watched the whole thing looking for something  interesting to write about, and I had this whole post outlined in my mind about how incredibly Marc-Andre Fleury played and how I believe his lateral movement is what makes him so hard to beat. I was going to unearth some rad YouTubes to support my thesis and I had a couple of articles to reference.

But then Sidney Crosby announced today that he has been cleared for contact and that he could return as soon as Sunday, and now all I can think about are the following three questions:

 

1) When Sid returns to action, who are his linemates?
2) When Sid returns to action, what line is he on? (The answer to this is dependent upon question 1.)
3) When Sid returns to action, what does the power play look like?

 

1)
I saw some jagoff on Twitter mention he’d like to see Sid paired with Dupuis and Sullivan. This is why I sometimes hate Twitter and the internet at large. Because people are allowed to talk on it who aren’t me and if you don’t think I know best about who Sid should play with then you are like, so totally wrong man.

The reason I so strongly disagree with this alliance is it returns Jordan Staal to the third line. There was a time when Jordan Staal was the ideal third line center with his size, defensive prowess, physical nature, and moderate offensive touch. But not so much anymore. Similarly to Geno, Staal has elevated his game this season to a height that many former critics of his believed he would never reach. Staal ‘11-’12 averages nearly half a goal per game and is on pace to match and possibly surpass his rookie season goal total — where he netted a career-high 29 goals in 81 games — in only 62 games. The last thing the Pens should be interested in is reducing Jordan Staal’s ice time.

Sullivan is having a disappointing season. His production is among the worst it’s been at any point in his 14-year career. One can argue that matching Sullivan with Crosby would likely increase Sully’s opportunities as teams struggle to contain Sid’s dynamic abilities,  and I can’t argue that. But should the Pens be concerned about helping Sullivan wake up or developing a line that rivals the Neal-Malkin-Kunitz unit?

On Sid’s other wing (it is not clear to me what wing Staal would play) would be Pascal Dupuis. The chemistry that Dupuis shares with Crosby is well documented, and if I’m not mistaken Dupuis spent some time on a line with Staal in ‘08-’09 when the Pens acquired him in a trade with Atlanta. That is to say these three players are not unfamiliar with one another, and this creates a line with an all-world wunderkind (Sid), a physical presence who dominates the ice and can protect the wunderkind (Staal), and a safety net of chemistry for the wunderkind who has good speed and is responsible defensively (Dupuis, although it should be noted that Sid and Staal are responsible defensively also).

2)
I suppose Staal-Crosby-Dupuis becomes the second line by default because — I didn’t forget to mention this, I just believe it to be that much of a given — Bylsma isn’t going to do anything to disrupt Neal-Malkin-Kunitz, even if it’s something as minor as changing their designation to “second line.” Crosby’s line is #2, and who actually gives a turkey because they’ll get about the same amount of ice time anyway and Crosby is a big enough boy not to get upset by being a second line center for the last dozen or so regular season games and the playoffs.

(Okay so I will address this. Neal was brought in absolutely positively and undoubtedly to be a Winger For Sid. The problem is he never got to play with Sid, developed instant chemistry with Evgeni Malkin, and both he and Geno are having career years. It was never supposed to be this way, but then Sid was never supposed to lose nearly a year and a half of his career to a concussion and broken neck. Sid and Neal will get to work together at some point this season, but you’re nuts if you think that just because Neal was brought here to play alongside Sid Bylsma and Shero are going to rearrange the whole team.)

3)
This was a much more intriguing question during the time leading up to Letang’s injury. The Pens power play was clicking at a rather phenomenal rate. (I can’t find the statistic, but at one point the Pens were something like 8 of 18 over the course of five games). Since Letang went down on February 29th (thanks for nothing, Leap Day William) the Penguins haven’t scored once with the man advantage. With this in mind it seems a given Sid will be on the first unit, and — for the sake of argument — I believe that even if Letang was healthy and the power play was still potent Sid would still crack the top unit. There is nothing to suggest that Crosby would do anything other than improve that group. I imagine a Crosby-Malkin-Neal-Kunitz-Letang power play unit in much the same way Bran Stark dreams of the days when he could scale the castle walls of Winterfell. (Woah. Sorry).

The other happy news is that Kris Letang has not been diagnosed with a concussion and felt well enough to engage in some “light off-ice workouts today.” Clearly Kris Letang means a great deal to this team — some would argue he’s more important than Crosby at this juncture (though I would not) — and getting him back would be a spectacular and unexpected boost for the Pens. For now, I’ll take satisfaction in hearing that this season might not be a total loss after all for the greatest player in the world, and I’ll hope today marks the moment when he can finally put this concussion business behind him.

Sidney, Ben, Tim, Ryan,Todd

December 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Sidney Crosby has concussion-like symptoms. Not a concussion. He completed the tests that reveal whether or not someone is concussed and showed no signs of a new concussion. He has symptoms.

If you want to tell yourself that it’s not that bad, you might be right to do so. A concussion is an injury, concussion-like symptoms are not. The fickle nature of Sidney Crosby’s brain means he could feel great in a day, but it might also take a week, month, or longer. Sid seems to believe that he isn’t back to where he was in January, where the results of his imPACT test showed an extensive brain injury. That said, it’s impossible to say when he’ll come back. It’s hard for me to imagine that he’ll play much less than three or four weeks after he begins feeling better. He thought he was extra cautious before and it took him six weeks after being cleared for contact to return to game action. Speaking of cleared for contact – I have no idea if he has been, uh, “uncleared” for contact or not. I don’t know how this is going to go, and that’s frustrating.

But perhaps most frustrating is there is no telling what triggered this. Looking back in last Monday’s game against the Bruins – the last game Sid played – there doesn’t appear to be any particular incident that would lead to Sid feeling groggy the next day. He collided hard with teammate Chris Kunitz but at no point did his head appear to be traumatized. Crosby’s brain doctors claimed in August that once Sid’s injury was healed he would be at no greater risk than anyone else to suffer further concussions or concussion-related issues. So was Sid not fully healed?  Despite the ability of doctors to put a patient through a battery of tests and take images of the brain can they not tell with certainty that a concussion is healed short of opening up the patient’s head and actually looking at it?

I’m going to keep telling myself that it isn’t a concussion, only concussion-like symptoms, and hope.

****

But of course Sidney Crosby isn’t the only notable Pittsburgh athlete to be banged up. Ben Roethlisberger and his Stretch Armstrong ankle are probably on a couch somewhere in Allegheny County wondering along with the rest of us if he’ll be on the field next Monday in San Francisco. It’s too early to tell if he’ll even be able to put a shoe on in a week, much less play a game, but assuming he can play, should he? I think the answer has as much to do with what happens Sunday as it does with how Roethlisberger’s ankle is feeling. The Steelers are currently fifth in the AFC, two games ahead of the 8-5 Jets for the sixth playoff spot, meaning they are all but guaranteed a playoff berth. All that’s left to be determined is the seeding. At 10-3, the Steelers are tied with the Ravens in terms of win-loss but lose the head-to-head tiebreaker, meaning the Steelers need help from Baltimore in order to win the division. The Ravens travel to San Diego next week to face the playoff-hopeful Chargers for what appears to be their last challenging game of the year (week 16 they get Cleveland, week 17 Cincinnati).

If Baltimore beats San Diego there is no earthly reason to believe they’ll lose in either week 16 or 17 and the Steelers will almost definitely finish as the fifth seed. But in the event the Chargers pull the upset next Sunday night – which is a fair possibility – the Steelers will have the chance to usurp the division lead from the Ravens by beating the Niners Monday night and (assuming they can handle the Rams and Browns in the last two weeks) likely wind up with the #1 seed in the conference.

I think it’s fairly unlikely Ben will play next week. But I think the odds of him playing increase dramatically if the Chargers upset the Ravens and open the door for the Steelers to take over the division.

****

Tim Tebow and the Broncos won again yesterday in typically Tebowian fashion. I’m not going to break down the full play-by-play of what happened, but they won, and Tebow was a part of it. I didn’t see the game (CBS was kindly bringing the Packers-Raiders slaughtering into my home, for some reason) but when I saw that the Broncos came back from 10-0 with under five minutes left in the game I switched immediately to ESPN to find Trend Dilfer and Tom Jackson fanning each other in an effort to keep themselves conscious. Their excitement over what Tebow had just done had them beside themselves. They even brought the Adam Schefterbot in to try to help them make sense of what they’d seen. I thought I’d missed one of the great moments in NFL history.

It turns out the Broncos won because (chronologically): 1) Marion Barber doesn’t know that stepping out of bounds inside of two minutes with the lead and the opposition has zero time outs left is stupid. 2) Matt Prater has a bionic leg and kicked a 59 yard field goal in subfreezing conditions. 3) Marion Barber cannot hang on to a football in the most crucial moment of a game (overtime with your team just about in field goal range) and fumbled possession to the Broncos. 4) Matt Prater’s bionic leg is still bionic.

I’ll give Tebow credit for the seven play, 63-yard touchdown drive that cut the Bear lead to 10-7. Beyond that this game was nothing more than a Chicago meltdown of the highest order. Tebow only drove the Broncos 39 yards in eight plays to set up Prater’s ridiculous 59-yarder at the end of regulation, and 33 yards in nine plays for Prater’s 51-yarder. That’s 72 yards in 17 plays. I’m sorry,  but that’s just not very good. If the Broncos don’t have an absolutely great kicker this game is nothing more than a loss in which the losing team’s starting quarterback only plays a four-minute game.

****

Ryan Braun, the NL MVP, tested positive for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) over the weekend and faces a 50-game suspension pending an appeal. I saw some Pirate fans on twitter combining this news with Albert Pujols’ departure from the Cardinals as some sort of serendipitous occurrence that will result in the Pirates somehow winning the N.L. Central next year.

Somehow I don’t think Ryan Braun and Albert Pujols leaving the division will help the Bucs win more than 70 games next year.

Also, there has been some talk about whether or not Braun will get to keep his MVP award. The MVP is awarded by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWA) and they own the award, meaning Bud Selig and the MLB ultimately have no say in this matter. It’s interesting, though, because if the BBWA did choose to strip Braun of the award it would set an interesting precedent when it comes to steroid users and the Hall of Fame. How would the writers (most of whom vote for both the MVP and the HOF) be able to justify casting Hall of Fame votes for Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Rodriguez, Pettite, etc. if they stripped Braun of his MVP? Taking away Braun’s MVP would be an acknowledgement by the BBWA that they disapprove of steroid use, and it might close the door on some very prominent figures’ Hall of Fame candidacies.

****

Todd Haley was fired today, one-year removed from winning his division. The Chiefs are 5-8 this season, which is bad, but still better than eight other teams in the NFL that haven’t fired their coaches. And I highly doubt any of those eight teams are playing without their first and second string quarterbacks, All-Pro safety, and Pro-Bowl running back. I don’t know what the Chiefs’ front-office expects Haley to do with Tyler Palko as his starting quarterback and Dwayne Bowe as his #1 offensive playmaker.

I don’t know why this bothers me, but it does. Haley won his division last year and had his team decimated by injuries this year. I think being 5-8 is actually a pretty decent accomplishment, all things considered. There was a chance – not a very good one, but still a chance – that the Chiefs could finish 8-8. Why not give him the last three weeks to see what he could do? And why give up on a guy who has proven that he can lead a team into the playoffs? Do the Chiefs really believe there is someone better sitting around that can take his spot? If so, do they have him yet? Because if not I can’t really understand this.

CrosbyWatch

November 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Are you getting a little bit grumpy about Sidney Crosby not playing yet? I am. Although I notice my frustration only really flares up after a Penguins loss. And last night’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of the beguiling Tampa Bay Lightning – a team that on one night loses to the hapless Winnipeg Jets and two nights later tame the beast that has become the Pittsburgh Penguins – has got me particularly desirous to see Sid back on the ice.

This also has something to do with my decision that Crosby will be back playing this Monday. I convinced myself of this a while ago, similar to the way many other Pens fans convinced themselves that Sid would be back on 11/11/11. I chose this Monday because it seemed like a soft spot in the schedule. Sunday is an off day, Monday is home against the Islanders, Tuesday another off day, Wednesday again at home, this time against the Blues, Thursday yet another off day, and Friday they close out the homestand against the Senators before heading out on the road for a Saturday night tilt against the Canadiens. Having three home games against middle-tier competition bracketed by off days seems like the friendliest circumstance for his return. The off day Tuesday could be used for medical evaluation, light practice, rest, whatever. Repeat this process on Thursday and, after the Friday night game – assuming he’s still feeling fine – he heads to Montreal and that’s it. He’s back.

This sounds sooooo great in my head that it must happen! Because seriously, if not Monday, then when? I don’t want to sound like a jagoff yinzer, but that’s exactly how I’m going to sound when I say: What’s the hold up here? Sid was cleared for contact on October 13th. My understanding is this was the final huge step in his recovery process. Being cleared for contact meant he would join the rest of his healthy teammates as a full participant in practices. Since being cleared, Sid has indeed been practicing with his team and he has been joining them on road trips. My understanding is he has been doing everything everybody else on the team has been doing except actually playing in games. Medically he is well enough to practice, why can’t he play? How different is practice from a game?

Well, it’s probably significantly different, but for Sid to really gauge how healthy he is practice has to replicate a real game as much as possible. Crosby needs to be hit. He needs to bump his head a few times to learn how it feels. He needs to know if he can sustain a blow to the head without feeling all concussion-y. He needs to play a balls-out shift where he skates hard and gets checked and falls down and does all the things he would do in a game scenario. This is vital to understanding whether or not he is fully recovered. It’s the same with any other injury – at some point you just have to go one-hundred percent and see what happens. Knee feels fine. I think it’s okay. Let’s go give it a shot. See what happens.

But as we know this injury is markedly different from a knee injury. It’s different than any injury for that matter. We have heard this time and again, and I won’t spend time here rehashing the ways in which it’s different. But the fact remains that he must be hit at some point. Somebody has got to lay one on him and see what happens. The problem is none of his teammates are going to do that. None of the Penguins players wants to be the guy that re-concusses The Franchise. Even though the likelihood of actually re-injuring Crosby is very, very slim, the chance exists, and nobody wants to have that on his conscience. Unfortunately this isn’t doing Sid any favors.

It seems to me the only way we’re going to get any idea if Sid can handle game contact is to expose him to some game contact. He’s been well enough to practice at 100% for almost six weeks now. At some point he’s got to pull the trigger. The Penguins are 11-5-3 (25 points) and second in the Atlantic Division, but in their last seven games they’re just 3-3-1. It’s not time to go into panic mode, but Crosby’s presence on the ice clearly would help this team. They need him back out there as soon as possible. I hope it’s Monday, lest you see me at the bridge.

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Sidney Crosby is the Ferrari of Christmas Trees

September 7, 2011 1 comment

There were a lot of things said today at the #Sidecision. Much of this stuff we already knew, much of it we didn’t. Let’s take a look at what we learned.

1) Sid suffered a very specific kind of concussion. We all know that concussions vary in severity. We all know that some players recover from concussions faster than others. What we didn’t know was that Sid’s concussion injured his vestibular system. The vestibular system, according to Wikipedia, ” . . . contributes to balance in most mammals and to the sense of spatial orientation, is the sensory system that provides the leading contribution about movement and sense of balance.”

What this means, according to Dr. Ted Carrick, is that Sid had trouble knowing where he was in space, and where space was around him. So, for instance, while in reality Sid might have been three feet away from the net, he felt as though he was six feet away. Clearly this is an issue for a professional hockey player.

What Dr. Carrick, along with Sid’s main doctor, Michael “Mickey” Collins, have been doing is re-training his brain to recognize things for being where they actually are, and for him to realize where he actually is in relation to those things. At this point he has more or less achieved that goal. He is no longer experiencing vestibular symptoms. The problem is that he spent many months after this injury with a distorted sense of space and distance. As a result, he has become acclimated to treating the world in this distorted way. He now needs time to reacclimate himself to perceiving the world as it actually is.

2) When Crosby suffered his second concussion, Dr. Collins knew it would be a long recovery. In spite of the fact that Dan Bylsma spoke to the media the day after the Victor Hedman hit and told us that he expected Sid to miss about a week, as soon as Collins saw images of Crosby’s brain he knew Sid would miss a long period of time. Trauma to the vestibular system typically requires more treatment and takes longer to recover from than concussions in other parts of the brain. As has been established time and again, concussions are frustrating as hell to deal with because there are no outward signs of injury. A concussion effecting the vestibular system is even more frustrating because, as Dr. Collins established, the recovery time is so much longer.

3) Crosby was evaluated by Dr. Collins yesterday, and Collis said that Sid has made “exceptional progress,” and that, “[Crosby’s] data is approaching normal limits and I am happy with what I see.” Dr. Carrick said that when he first began seeing Crosby, the player was unable to handle even the slightest perturbation to his body or surroundings, meaning that he was easily knocked off balance by even the slightest nudge or movement in the ground beneath him. Now, Crosby is able to, “tolerate great perturbations.” Crosby himself acknowledged that today is “the best [he’s] felt” since January.

4)  Dr. Collins said that Crosby is in “reconditioning mode.” He is, for all intent and purpose, healthy. He experiences the occasional headache, specifically when he reaches 90 percent exertion. But for the average human he is fine. He could live a normal, healthy life from today on if he never played hockey again. His brain will eventually heal. “The brain wants to heal,” Dr. Collins said. It just takes time. Sid is working now on getting his body back into shape.

When he is able to absorb contact, the doctors will know. They do not know when they will know, Everyone who spoke today made at least one reference to the idea of Crosby not returning until he is 100 percent healthy.

5) And Sidney Crosby will, one day, be 100 percent healthy. One day he will no longer suffer from any symptoms. His brain will heal. That is, as long as he and his doctors continue to approach this injury with the respect it deserves. Dr. Collins says that, “we are not even close,” to clearing Crosby for contact. When asked if Sid will be ready to go in Vancouver on October 6th, Collins replied, “I have no earthly idea.”

6) Everybody involved with this situation is supremely confident that Sid will make a full and complete recovery. Nobody knows when that will be. The only thing that can be guaranteed about Sid’s recovery is that it is inevitable; He will play hockey again.

Sidney Crosby will not retire. He never contemplated retirement. Crosby himself said it is “likely” that he will play this season. If you think he will not play this season, listen to Sid when he says, “I wouldn’t bet on it.”

Categories: Penguins Tags: ,

The Curious Case of Crosby’s Concussion

August 23, 2011 5 comments

As The Pensblog ably reminds us today, there are only 44 days until the Pittsburgh Penguins travel to Vancouver to begin their season against the defending Western Conference champion Canucks. 230 days have passed since Sidney Crosby played a game of hockey. We still don’t know if he will be able to play ever again.

There have been unlimited rumors about Crosby’s status for the upcoming season. Everyone with a Twitter account within 20 miles of Cole Harbour Nova Scotia claims to have some sort of inside information about Sid’s health. There seems to be a cycle at work where people claim to hear something from someone who has an update on Crosby’s health, tweet the rumor, file a report, then ask Ray Shero and Pat Brisson (Crosby’s agent) to confirm or deny the update

But there are no updates. There haven’t been any updates since the season ended. Everything is still the same, and nobody knows when Crosby’s health will improve to the point where he can play again. Apparently this is unacceptable.

We are not used to sports injuries being this hard to understand. Medicine has evolved to the point where once an injury is diagnosed we are able to pinpoint an exact timeline for recovery. Torn ACL: nine to twelve months. Broken forearm: six weeks. But concussions? Indeterminate. When the symptoms subside.

The most frustrating aspect of this injury has been the nebulous nature of Sid’s “symptoms.” We are told frequently that Crosby is still suffering “symptoms” from his concussion but there is no elaborating on exactly what those symptoms are. Presumably he is suffering from headaches, dizziness, and sensitivity to light. But maybe the symptoms are worse.

There was some speculation after it became clear that Sid was going to be sidelined for a significant amount of time that his injury was something even more grievous than a concussion. Perhaps a broken bone in his neck. A spinal contusion. Everything was suggested and nothing was confirmed. Surely if this were  a concussion he wouldn’t miss more than a couple weeks. The day after the Hedman hit Dan Bylsma said he expected Sid to be out for about a week. It made sense, especially when one considers this hit Steelers tight end Heath Miller absorbed on December 10th 2010 forced him to miss only one week with a concussion:

Compare this hit to the hits on Crosby by David Steckel and Victor Hedman and one wonders how Sid could still be in such bad shape.

The truth is that unless we are told otherwise, Sid has a concussion. And while on its face this injury may seem worse than that, we have to remember that everyone is different when it comes to concussions. And that’s another element of this situation that is so bewildering to the fan. We are constantly told that everybody reacts to concussions differently. That trauma to different parts of the brain affect people in different ways. And so there can never be an umbrella diagnosis when it comes to a concussion — certainly not in this era of heightened awareness regarding the dangerousness of head injuries. Had this happened five years ago and Sid were still experiencing headaches and dizziness, he might have been told by doctors that it’s just the way things are going to be for a while and not to worry about it. Get back out there and you’ll feel better eventually. For all we know Crosby may have suffered his first concussion when he was playing for Rimouski Oceanic in the QMJHL. Maybe he “had his bell rung,” like we used to say, before we knew how devastating a concussion could be, when he was 15-years-old at Shattuck-St. Marys, and because we all were so much more ignorant nine years ago his coaches and trainers never gave it a second look. There is a possibility that at the staggeringly young age of 24 the world’s greatest hockey player may already be damaged beyond repair. The most important thing is that Sidney take care of Sidney, and to wait until doctors are absolutely certain that it is safe for him to return to competition.

Ray Shero was asked today about Sid’s health and he said that as far as he knows Sid is working out off the ice. But maybe he will skate tomorrow, because he woke up feeling symptom-free. And then maybe the day after he doesn’t skate because he was a little dizzy and he isn’t sure if he should push himself. And then maybe he wakes up Friday and feels like a million dollars and continues to improve until he’s completely healed.

There is no way of telling, and that is something we all have to accept.

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