October 13, 2011
The Savior traversed the frozen passage, his devotees transfixed upon him with a sanguine gaze. The crown placed upon hath changed; what once was white becometh onyx. "He hath been cleared for contact!" they shouted as the prophets had foretold. "Now what sayeth you about Geno?" ...
What, too subtle?
In a move obviously tailored to make Jeremy Roenick's life that much more laid back, Sidney Crosby(notes) and the Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that he's been cleared for full contact, rocking the black helmet in practice rather than the white lid for the first time this season.
The obvious question, besides when Crosby would return to game play: Will anyone have the stones to give him a wallop in practice? Said Crosby:
"I hope so. When a guy comes back from injury you're usually a little hesitant. That's pretty normal. I might have to do something to get them to hit me. Maybe I'll have to bump them a little bit and get them going. As close to a game situation as we can get it.
"It's pretty tough right now, we play every second day and back-to-back games. There aren't a lot of practices with contact per se. I've got to get hit at some point during practice, but we're playing so much that it's pretty tough to get that in right now."
We've said throughout this ordeal that Crosby finally getting cleared for contact was the key. Being without symptoms from his concussion(s) is one thing; being symptom-free enough to take a lick in practice is another. This is the most significant hurdle he had to clear; now it's just a matter of when he's back as their top-line center. (Still leaning towards Oct. 22 at home against the Devils.)
Also from the Pens today: Chris Kunitz(notes) signed a 2-year extension with a $3.725 million annual cap hit; and Dan Bylsma said Evgeni Malkin(notes) is a game-time decision against the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.