January 24, 2011
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced Monday morning that captain Sidney Crosby(notes) will not attend NHL All-Star Weekend festivities in Raleigh this weekend. Repeat: Not just the All-Star game, but the entire weekend of NHL marketing, schmoozing and photo ops.
"Sidney is making progress in his recovery but still is not completely symptom-free," General Manager Ray Shero said in making the announcement. "The Penguins organization has decided that he will not attend the NHL All-Star Weekend and instead will continue to relax and recuperate in the hopes of returning to our lineup soon."
Crosby will miss his ninth straight game Tuesday when the Penguins host the New York Islanders at CONSOL Energy Center. He has not been cleared to resume physical activity.
"I know Sidney is very honored to have been selected by the fans to appear in the All-Star Game, and he was happy to attend the festivities two years ago when he couldn't play because of a knee injury," Shero said. "However, in this situation -- when he has not even skated for two and a half weeks and still has not been cleared to resume physical activity -- we think it's best for him to focus totally on his recovery."
Didja pick up the subtle notion that it was the Penguins and not Sidney Crosby that made this decision? Two reasons why that's important.
First, because we're a week removed from an "angered" Crosby allegedly boycotting the All-Star game in protest of the NHL's head-shot policies, according to a since-denied Globe & Mail report. So for the sake of any conspiracy theories, it's the Penguins' call.
Second, because Crosby has previously shown up to an All-Star game he had to miss due to injury: Montreal in 2009, participating in interviews, VIP events, visiting the locker rooms and coming out on the ice to the delight of the crowd during the skills competitions. That was Montreal, a hockey Mecca where his parents traveled to meet him; this is Raleigh. Better that the Penguins have this as their decision than to have any perception of Sidney playing geographic favorites. (Which would have been unfortunate, given that a concussion travels a hell of a lot differently than a bum knee.)
Finally on the Sidney front, we're always looking for fresh new faces in hockey comedy 'round these parts. So please check out this fella Damien Cox of the Toronto Star. He writes a brilliant satire of general sports columnists making preposterous arguments for the sake of attention with his "NHL may have put Crosby at risk in Winter Classic" piece.
Our favorite part was when the "altered depth perception, rain, lousy ice and amended schedule" made Sidney skate into David Steckel.