The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that captain Sidney Crosby has been diagnosed with a concussion. Coach Mike Sullivan said that the injury occurred in the Penguins’ Friday practice, but it was unclear at first that there was a head injury. What was orignally believed to just be sickness that kept Crosby out of the Pens’ preseason finale has now been officially diagnosed as a concussion. With so little time left before the start of the regular season, there is doubt as to whether or not Crosby will be healthy for the Pens’ home opener Thursday night against the Washington Capitals. There is no timeline for his return at this point.
This is not the first time that Crosby has suffered a concussion as he has missed time in many seasons throughout his career due to head injuries. The worry with yet another concussion, even if it is minor, is that it could lead to an extended absence. The last thing that anyone wants to see is the player that most believe to be the best in hockey out with a head injury. Hopefully Crosby is back on the ice in no time.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh may have to do some line shuffling, but luckily for the defending Stanley Cup champs there is plenty of depth to go around. The diagnosis at this point in time allows the Penguins to re-analyze their roster situation prior to the cap deadline, perhaps preventing a player like Eric Fehr from hitting waivers. It could also allow the likes of Oskar Sunqvist, Teddy Blueger, or college free agent Thomas Di Pauli to earn a role in the Penguins bottom-six. Should Crosby be unable to go on Thursday or even for an extended period of time, expect Evgeni Malkin to center the top line while Nick Bonino leads the “HBK line” in taking over second line duties. Matt Cullen, Fehr, or Wilkes-Barre/Scranton reinforcements will center the bottom two lines.