January 18, 2011
It was an article in which David Shoalts cited "the word filtering out of the Pittsburgh Penguins" that Crosby is angry over the NHL's decision not to levy suspensions for hits to his head and "an NHL source" saying Crosby would protest that decision by skipping the All-Star game.
Here's Sidney, loud and clear, via the Penguins:
On a report that he's angry the NHL didn't punish the two headshots and won't participate in the All-Star Game:
"That's not even close (to accurate). I'll be there if I can be there and still haven't ruled out being there. Hopefully, in the next few days things get better. There's a slight chance I can still be back for that. That's what I'm hoping. If I can be there, I'll be there."
The pushback on the Globe & Mail story continued on TSN, as Darren Dreger quotes NHL VP of hockey and business Brendan Shanahan as saying Crosby assured him he will attend All-Star Weekend if he's physically able to. From TSN:
"He couldn't have been more co-operative," Shanahan told TSN. "There was no anger, or suggestion of protest. He said he was excited about the weekend and the draft."
Shoalts, the article's author, offered a clarification over Twitter:
"Clarification on the fuss around Crosby: It was my opinion that he was angry enough to consider skipping the all-star game."
(Read this again; now it's an opinion piece? Wow.)
Crosby wasn't named one of the two captains for next weekend's All-Star game, as the NHL announced Eric Staal(notes) and Nicklas Lidstrom(notes) will wear the "C." Shanahan told us that the All-Stars who voted for the captains expressed concern about Crosby's health during the process.
As the dust settles on this leak to the Globe & Mail, and the vehement denials from Crosby and his agent, one thing is clear: Directly or indirectly, it cast Crosby as a voice against the NHL's player-safety measures and discipline on hits to the head. It's something Crosby had spoken about after hits from David Steckel of the Washington Capitals and Victor Hedman(notes) of the Tampa Bay Lightning concussed him.
From Crosby, on whether he plans to use his "prestige" as a player to combat headshots:
"It's easier to do that when you've gone through that and dealt with it. I think I've always been interested in those type of things and improving the game, evaluating it from everyone's point of view. Having gone through this for the last little bit, it's probably a little easier to do that."
Finally, Crosby said that a concussion isn't the same type of injury he had when he showed up in Montreal in street clothes two years ago for the All-Star game: "This is different than Montreal as far as injury-wise. If I can be there I will be there."