Rumors were beginning to circulate, again, last week that Sidney Crosby could be close to a return. Of course, that was about the seventeenth time that's happened in the past 10 months, but seeing as how Crosby has been doing non-contract skating with the Penguins lately, it seemed more realistic.
He could get some great news toward that end this week. Originally it was reported he would meet with his doctors on Tuesday where he could possibly be cleared for contact, but that meeting will now happen later this week, per Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Here is what Rossi's original story reported about the meeting with doctors.
[Clinical neuropsychologist Michael] Collins has overseen Crosby's treatment from the start and will determine if he can return to contact situations in practices -- the next step as Crosby prepares for his anticipated return to games.
Crosby addressed the situation himself on Tuesday, saying that he has a meeting this week, but it's nothing out of the ordinary.
Crosby said that he'd love more than anybody for the doctors to tell him he's OK to play, but that he has no clue when that could be. As far as how he's feeling, all he would say is that he feels better today than yesterday, whether that was used in a literal sense or more figurative, I'm not sure.
If -- a big if -- Crosby is given the green light for contact, then we might be able to truly set a timetable for his return. This will only be another step. Granted it would be a massive one if he is cleared, but it's still just another step. Don't expect to see him in the lineup for the Penguins' home opener Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers.
But you can at least get a little excited Pittsburgh. There was also this from Rossi:
There is a general feel within the organization that the face of the franchise is doing better now than at any point during his recovery.
A somewhat coy Crosby seemed to back that part up in the above interview.
At this point, it's getting hard not to notice a lot of signs indicating things are getting better. And most every hockey fan agree -- even those that hate Crosby -- that his return is good for the game.