January 08, 2011
The story of Sidney Crosby's(notes) concussion quickly went from one about his absence from the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup to one about what the Penguins knew about the injury and when they knew it; considering Crosby may have suffered his head injury in the Winter Classic and then played another game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
There was a debate about when Crosby was evaluated or showed symptoms. Amateur neurologists scoured "HBO 24/7" footage to examine whether Crosby had concussion symptoms during or after the Winter Classic. (These are likely the same people who thought Bruce Boudreau "lost the room" earlier in the series because the Capitals looked bored in reaction shots to his profane rants.)
On Saturday, we finally heard from the Kid himself, establishing a timeline for the concussion and offering some tough talk about the blindside hits he suffered through, but that were unpunished, especially Steckel's:
"I feel like he could have gotten out of the way and avoided me. Whether he tried to hurt me, only he knows. I guess we'll never know that, but you still have to be responsible out there."
Here's Crosby, via the Penguins:
Coming up, a full transcript of that media scrum with Crosby.
Q. Can you describe what the symptoms were?
CROSBY: It's hard to explain. I guess anybody that's kinda gone through it will be able to explain it
too. You just feel off, headaches, a little sick. That's basically the
symptoms. That's kinda been what it's been like the last couple of days.
Q. Have you had a concussion before in your NHL career?
No. No, so it's something new. That's probably the best way to describe it.
Q. There's such a strict protocol in all the sports in terms of concussions. Do you feel they're going to monitor you?
That's important for me, especially. I don't want to come back too soon. I know they won't allow that to happen. It's a little bit different than a shoulder or different things like that, that you can play through in the course of the season. It's pretty serious. You want to make sure that you're completely clear from doing it again.
Q. What were your thoughts on both of the hits this week, with all the focus on Steckel and then Hedman?
I didn't like them. You talk about headshots and dealing with them, and that's been something that's been a pretty big point of interest from everybody -- GMs and players. When I look at those two hits ... when we talk about blindside, that's a big word. Unsuspecting player. There's no puck there on both of them. Direct hit to the head on both of them. If you go through the criteria, I think they fit all those.
I know it's a fast game. If anybody understands it's a fast game ... I've been hit a thousand times. When you get hit like that, there's nothing you can do. There's no way to protect yourself. Those are things that hopefully they pay more attention to. It's easy saying that, being in this situation; but those are two hits, looking back, that I can't say I should have done something different or had my head down. I wouldn't change anything.
Q. I know the League reviewed them; were you surprised there wasn't an action taken [on either hit]?
On the Steckel one, it's tough. It's really tough to decide if he meant to or didn't mean to. I feel like he could have gotten out of the way and avoided me. Whether he tried to hurt me, only he knows. I guess we'll never know that, but you still have to be responsible out there. I can carry my stick up around my head and say that I'm protecting myself, but I still have to be responsible for whatever I do with my stick if I end up high-sticking someone.
It's the same thing. In that situation, I don't see anything [and] he sees me there. He sees the whole ice and he doesn't avoid me. I don't think that's responsible on his part. Whether or not he tried to hurt me, only he knows that. But he's got to be the one to try to avoid me in that situation.
There's been some talk about on which of those hits you suffered the concussion. Can you talk about how you felt after each of those hits?
Who knows when I actually got it? Wednesday's when I started feeling, during the game, that I just didn't feel right.
After the Hedman hit?
No, throughout the game I just didn't feel right. Does that mean that I had all these huge symptoms? No. There are just times when you play and there's a difference. I would compare it to when you're sick. You just feel a little off. That's when I went to the doctor after the game, and I just told them that things felt a little off.
At that point, that's when my head was starting to bother me a little bit more. But leading up to that, it was a lot more neck than head, and that was to be expected considering what happened on Saturday night.
You're hit a lot in hockey, and you have neck soreness. That's pretty typical. You deal with that a lot. Wednesday when it started to get more of my head and I felt a little off, that's when [there was] a red flag.
So that was before the hit with Hedman?
When was your last baseline test [for concussions]?
I think about two years ago.
Are you feeling better than you did?
It's been pretty much the same the last couple days. It's one of those things. I think everyone heals or reacts differently. It's just one of those things you have to wait out. It's not as easy as a break or something where they really give you a time frame. There are certain steps you take, and it's obviously a pretty sensitive issue. You always make sure you take your time, but hopefully things are better sooner than later.
I'd like to think I'm cautious with every one, but yeah, probably a little more so with this.
There's injuries you get that you've had before, and you get to know them a little bit and you get to know your body. This is something totally new to me, and I'm pretty unfamiliar with it. So you have to rely on the doctors and what they say a lot. It's important for them to kind of hear about your symptoms, and you try to let them know what's going on, too. There'll be a lot of communication that way, but there has got to be no symptom. I've gotta make sure that this isn't something I have to deal with.
[Is the advice] to rest and not exert yourself and wait for the symptoms to go away?
I think it's kind of a process. You just go based on your symptoms. Hopefully, soon I'll be symptom free and be able to start doing exercise. If I can get through that, without any symptoms, then you go to the next step and start skating. Like I said, hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.
Was it a mistake to not test you for a concussion after the game Saturday (the Winter Classic)?
No, I mean, looking back, I wouldn't have changed anything we did. It may be easy to say that now, but I didn't have any head [issues] and it didn't feel like a concussion. It seemed to be all neck related. I've gotten hit a lot over the course of my time playing hockey, had sore necks and that's what it felt like at the time. But I don't think looking back I would have changed anything.
Has it affected your sleep and have you taken any medications?
No, I haven't been taking any medication, and my sleep's been good. Everyone kind of reacts differently, and I've been sleeping fine. So that's good. The more you sleep the better you heal usually, so that's a good thing.