Penguins' Crosby exploring playing options

The SportsXchange

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby is exploring his playing options as the NHL lockout reached its second day.

Russia's Kontinental Hockey League has the most money to pay a star player like Crosby, but it may not be willing to insure his $104 million contract. Concussions have limited Crosby's play the past two seasons.

The KHL did sign star players Evgeni Malkin (Penguins) and Sergei Gonchar (Ottawa Senators), among others, over the weekend.

Crosby's agent, Pat Brisson, told USA Today that Crosby might begin looking for a place to play during the NHL's work stoppage.

"Are we going to discuss playing somewhere tomorrow morning, I don't think so,' " he said. "But Sidney has only played 28 games in the last year-and-a-half, and depending upon how this unfortunate situation develops, he's going to want to play hockey."

Crosby did play at the end of last season and in the playoffs. He also trained this summer without complications.

Malkin has lobbied for Crosby to join him with the Metallurg team of the KHL, but Brisson said the issue with insuring Crosby's contract could be an obstacle.

"Can they insure him for $100 million? Maybe not," Brisson said. "But at the end of the day, if we were talking about a combination of insurance, guarantees, and we could get up to the $60 million to $100 million range. Who knows? It won't be right away, but if this dragged on a month, two months, there will be some decisions he will have to make."

Meanwhile, no progress had been made in the lockout as of Monday morning and no formal talks are planned. However, ESPN New York reported that NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr talked over the phone Sunday and plan to talk again Tuesday.

The players received 57 percent of hockey-related revenue before the collective bargaining agreement expired Saturday. The league wanted to reduce that figure to 43 percent, but has increased its offer to at least 46 percent in recent negotiations. The players are seeking a deal that would guarantee at least the $1.8 billion in salaries paid out in the 2011-12 season annually, according to multiple reports.
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