The Pittsburgh Penguins made a 12-year commitment to Sidney Crosby this week with full knowledge of his concussion history, and the difficulties in trying to insure themselves in case Crosby suffers some calamitous head injury and is forced into an early retirement.
But Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported on Friday night that while the team can insure the contract for a variety of injuries, according to NHL sources the Penguins "cannot insure themselves against a concussion-related early retirement" for Crosby.
Crosby, 24, has missed all but 63 games the past two seasons because of concussion symptoms. He and the Penguins agreed to a 12-year contract worth $104.4 million — all of it guaranteed. The team will present the contract to the league Sunday for approval.
Insurance companies offer teams protection against career-ending injuries, but Crosby's concussion history is considered a pre-existing condition. If Crosby cannot finish his contract because of a concussion-related injury, he will still be paid in full, but the Penguins would not receive assistance from an insurance policy on the deal, sources said.
[Nicholas J. Cotsonika: Sidney Crosby extension was right move for Pens]
Is it a matter of timing? Can the Penguins get Crosby's deal insured down the line? Kevin Allen of USA Today reported this week:
They can immediately get Crosby's contract insured for any catastrophe other than a concussion-related calamity. Plus, I'm told that if Crosby continues to play concussion-free, they eventually might be able to insure the contract for a head injury, even though the rates could be quite high.
Check out Rossi's piece for more about how Crosby's potential health/contract issues are not equal to those of Mario Lemieux in the late 1990s.
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