Fri Jan 07 12:18pm EST
As we said Thursday, the timing of Sidney Crosby's(notes) concussion was going to be a bigger story than the concussion itself, which has been described as "mild" by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now that the Penguins have made their statements and the media have contradicted them with their own sources, the questions are swirling.
Did he suffer one on a Victor Hedman(notes) hit in the Penguins' win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday? Did he suffer one on Dave Steckel's(notes) incidental blindside hit in the Winter Classic against the Washington Capitals? Did the Hedman hit cause damage that doctors missed when evaluating Crosby after the Classic?
Did either Crosby, the doctors or the Penguins knowingly allow Crosby on the ice with a concussion on Wednesday night?
John Shannon of Sportsnet Tweeted Thursday night that Crosby suffered a mild concussion on the Steckel hit and played in the Tampa Bay game with it. Darren Dreger of TSN said the same, later Tweeting:
I see the Penguins continue to refute reports Crosby's concussion is a result of Winter Classic hit. Hmmm. Cause he played vs. TB?
With conflicting stories, in an NHL where head injuries and player safety have been hot-button topics for the last year, the Penguins are being questioned about their handling of Sidney Crosby's health.
Here's what coach Dan Bylsma said about the injury before Thursday night's loss to the Montreal Canadiens:
The inquiring mind wonders whether the hits he incurred against Tampa were the actual cause, or the aftershocks of the previous tremor. Whether, because of the Steckel hit, he was a little slower, a little less alert, a little more vulnerable.
Whatever the truth, it's between the Penguins and their conscience. They may have it exactly right, or terribly, cynically wrong. We're never going to find out.
So you have the Penguins claiming that the injury occurred against the Lightning and that all medical protocols have been followed, while media (and "armchair neurologists" diagnosing off of HBO footage) claim otherwise.
The uncomfortable part of this is any accusation that the Penguins acted negligently toward their star player. The Pensblog offered this take:
We don't know much, but if "sources" were confirming negligence on the part of the Penguins Medical Staff, someone named John Shannon wouldn't be "breaking" the news on Twitter. But now we're jumping to our own conclusions, since Shannon doesn't say that the Penguins Medical Staff knew about it. Maybe this tweet from John Shannon is true, and the Pens' flight to Montreal scrambled Crosby's [stuff].
From our research team at WebMD, concussion symptoms don't always show up right away. Sometimes it takes something else, like a hit from Hedman or high altitude, to knock some things loose. Crosby's worth more than your life, so guaranteed there was no shady [stuff] going on with this. Plus he's only slated to be out for a week. Not the end of the world.
Hard to believe the Penguins would ever take that risk with Crosby. And one hopes that in a sport where warriors like Ian Laperriere have hidden concussion symptoms to remain on the ice, that Sid didn't take any risks either.