Posted on: September 17, 2011 11:12 am
Edited on: September 17, 2011 11:19 am
By: Adam Gretz
MORE CROSBY CONFUSION It was announced on Friday that Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, still recovering from a concussion, has been cleared to skate in non-contact drills. Helping to add to the confusion that's already out there regarding his comeback is that his medical team is apparently not on the same page. Ted Carrick, a chiropractor that has been observing Crosby for the past month, appeared on a Pittsburgh radio station (WDVE) on Friday and said that he's as ready for contact as any other player in the NHL, which would be the first time we've heard such a report, and one that seemingly goes against everything his other doctor, Michael Collins, as well as the Penguins team doctors are saying. Rob Rossi of the Tribune-Review has more on the story.
OSHIE APPEARS IN TOP SHAPE St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie had an up-and-down season a year ago, going through a team-imposed two-game suspension following an unexcused absence. He was committed to making the team forget about all of it, and it seems that he is off to a good start, having appeared to Blues camp in great shape and acing the teams conditioning tests. Said Oshie, via Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, "I just wanted to prove to them after everything that happened that I've matured and have grown up." In 49 games last season he scored 12 goals to go with 22 assists.
DATSYUK'S SALEI TRIBUTE Pavel Datsyuk will be honoring his former teammate, Ruslan Salei, who was tragically killed in the plane crash involving the KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, by wearing No. 24 during the preseason. That is the number Salei wore for most of his NHL career, including the 2010-11 season which he spent as a member of the Red Wings.
JAGR OPENS CAMP ON TOP LINE The top line at Flyers practice on Saturday featured Jaromir Jagr, Claude Giroux and James vanRiemsdyk. Jagr signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia this summer after playing the past three seasons in the KHL. Scott Hartnell, Danny Briere and Jakub Voracek, acquired in the trade that sent Jeff Carter to Columbus, skated on the second line.
Posted on: September 16, 2011 12:54 pm
“I’m cleared to practice without contact. That’s good news for me. I’m excited to get going,” Crosby said Crosby on Friday. “Whatever symptoms I’ve had have been pretty minimal. To be able to get cleared to do this is good.”
I can hear what most of you are saying, "Oh great, another Crosby update" but this one has real merit. It's so tantalizing, it has some people wondering if Crosby will be back in time for the start of the season. While I won't even think of going that far, this would qualify as moving on to the next phase. But to state the obvious, hockey is kind of tough. Until he is given a green light on contact can we even begin to speculate when he might be back playing games.
From the Penguins official team site:
“I think camp will be a pretty good indication. It’s going to be pretty intense,” Crosby said. “Even without contact, I’m sure it’s going to be a pretty good pace. I’ll see how things go then.
“But I feel like I’ve done pretty good tests of exertion at different points and responded pretty well. I think the main thing is that I feel pretty comfortable and confident with where I’m at heading into camp here.”
This isn't the first time that Crosby has been cleared to resume hockey activities sans contact. At the end of March he was given the OK to join the team skates with the possibility of a return by the playoffs lingering. But things were shut down when Crosby began suffering post-concussion symptoms again.
So for now, Sid will just worry about things, day by day.
“You don’t want to be evaluating yourself every minute out there,” he said. “You want to go out there and try to do the things you normally do and see how things go. That being said, if everything is going well, you’ve got to use that time to get ready and get back in shape and timing and all of that stuff. It’s been a long time since I’ve been out there with a group and it’s been intense, so I’m just looking forward to getting out there and doing that.”
All this time, the Penguins have been very cautious with Crosby, insisting on not pushing him back too soon, coach Dan Bylsma included. But that doesn't mean it doesn't get him excited to see his superstar back training with the team, even if in a diminished role.
“In terms of seeing Sidney Crosby on the ice in that jersey and participating in practice, it’s always good to see that,” Bylsma said. “He’ll be out there with his teammates and participating.
“A lot of what he’s doing will be what he is comfortable with. He’ll be at the same pace and tempo as the other guys. Some of the contact drills he may not participate in.”
But right now it's a massive step that there are drills he will be participating in.
Just in case you need a reminder, Crosby is, oh, kind of good. He played in exactly half of the games last season yet still led the Penguins in points by 16, scoring 32 goals and adding 34 assists.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: September 14, 2011 9:36 am
BELAK'S DEPRESSION: Here is a very powerful piece written by Michael Landsberg at TSN, a good friend to the late Wade Belak. It's a terrific read that gives a closer look into each of their issues with depression, offering up a different perspective. Really worth a read.
ST. LOUIS SALE: The Blues are still searching for a new ownership group as Dave Checketts tries to separate himself from the franchise. A new and promising group has emerged (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) to possibly push this sale closer to a reality. The group, led by Calgary businessman and former Coyotes suitor Max Chambers, includes six-time Cup winner Bryan Trottier.
TWEET BEAT: Do you enjoy following some of the Flyers on Twitter like Ilya Bryzgalov or James van Riemsdyk? They might not be entertaining as much in the coming months. The Flyers are cracking down on how much the players Tweet during "business hours" as prospect Zac Rinaldo recently found out (from Puck Daddy/Courier Times).
QUITE A PAIR: Welcome to Detroit, Ian White. The defenseman is getting a nice signing bonus, opening training camp as the defensive partner of Nicklas Lidstrom. The other Red Wings pairings will be Brad Stuart with Niklas Kronwall then Mike Commodore will join forces with Brendan Smith when camp opens.
THE FIGHT GOES ON: The fight over fighting in the NHL has grown to an all-time high this offseason. Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun is one of those who would like to see the pugilism expunged from the sport, but believes the only way that will get done is with a strong-willed GM.
SPECIAL DELIVERY: It's awesome enough when your season tickets arrive at your house, nothing gets the blood pumping quite like seeing your admission slips. Now just imagine those season tickets being delivered by none other than Sidney Crosby? That's what a few Penguins fans got to experience.
Tags: Brad Stuart, Brendan Smith, Brian Stubits, Daily Skate, Dave Checketts, Detroit Red Wings, Ian White, Ilya Bryzgalov, James Van Riemsdyk, Mike Commodore, NHL Fighting, Nicklas Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, St. Louis Blues, Wade Belak, Zac Rinaldo
Posted on: September 7, 2011 1:59 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 2:08 pm
By: Adam Gretz
After a summer of reports, denials, more reports, more denials and a number of unanswered questions regarding the status of Sidney Crosby, the Penguins captain addressed the media on Wednesday to discuss his recovery from a concussion and his potential availability for the start of the 2011-12 season.
In the end, not much has changed as we still don't know for sure when Crosby will be ready to return to the lineup. His doctors, Michael Collins and Ted Carrick, as well as Penguins general manager Ray Shero, all of whom joined Crosby at the podium, all insisted that he will not be allowed to return until he is at 100 percent -- a level he has still not yet reached.
When asked if Crosby will be ready for the Penguins' season opening game in Edmonton on October 6, Collins said that he "has no earthly idea." But while nobody could say for sure when he will return, everybody involved seemed confident that he will return, as if it were simply a matter of "when" and not "if."
Among the topics addressed were the symptoms Crosby experienced in the beginning, the ones he is still experiencing today, the unknown timetable for his return, what consideration Crosby gave to retirement (he says none), as well as his call for the NHL to ban all hits to the head.
Here are some of the highlights of the 40-minute conference:
-- Collins said he first met with Crosby on Jan. 6 and knew right away that this would be an injury that would take a long time to recover from. He also added that he is not surprised it's taken as long as it has. During their early meetings he described Crosby's symptoms as being "foggy," and, using the first of many analogies, compared it to your high definition TV working like a standard definition TV. He was having headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, while everything around him seemed to be moving in slow motion.
Since then, however, it appears that a lot of progress has been made.
Crosby is still not yet ready for contact, or to be declared 100 percent, but he is starting to approach his normal limits -- Collins referred to him numerous times as "a Ferrari" of a hockey player -- but simply isn't there yet.
Collins also said that he evaluated Crosby on Tuesday and that the data he saw then is the best he's seen to date regarding his recovery. He also wasn't shy about how wonderful of a patient Crosby has been throughout the process.
-- Following some brief opening statements from Shero and the doctors, Crosby was finally asked a series of questions, and one of the first ones involved whether or not he ever considered retirement, something that was rumored -- based on unconfirmed reports out of Canada -- earlier this summer.
Crosby said he never considered retirement and that he "didn't give a whole lot of thought to that."
-- Carrick, a concussion specialist that has been seeing Crosby recently, referred to concussions and head injuries as an epidemic in sports, and also added: "It's a good time to have a head injury now as opposed to a few years ago, but hopefully we won't have to go through these in the future."
Later in the press conference Crosby was asked his thoughts about hits to the head and whether or not there should be a complete banishment of them in the NHL.
Said Crosby, "I don't think there's a reason not to take them out." He also added that of all the hits that happen over the course of a hockey season probably only 50-or-so result in a hit to the head, and that the NHL would not miss such a small number of plays.
-- One of the most recent updates on Crosby's status indicated that his symptoms started to return when he reached the 80-90 percent exertion level on the ice, something that was confirmed on Wednesday.
Crosby said he's still experiencing some small headaches at this point, but that is a long way from where he was in the beginning of the process. He said early on he found it difficult to drive, listen to the radio or watch TV. He also admitted that he tried to attend a meeting with the team to watch film shortly after the concussion but felt that it was stressing his system.
-- When asked if it's "likely or unlikely if he will play this season," Crosby simply responded. "Likely."
Posted on: September 5, 2011 1:44 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2011 1:47 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos has scored 96 goals over the past two seasons, and is already one of the most dangerous offensive players in the NHL at the age of 21. Earlier this offseason his production over the first three seasons of his career resulted in a brand new five-year, $37.5 million contract with the Lightning.
The fame that comes with being one of the top players in the league, as well as the brand new pay check, hasn't stopped him from spending his summer playing in a "beer league" baseball league in his hometown of Markhem, Ontario, where Stamkos buys uniforms, bats and picks up the post-game bar tabs.
Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star checked out a game this past week, and the reviews of Stamkos' baseball skills are almost as glowing as the ones usually reserved for his ability on the ice.
From the Star:
For the 21-year-old Stamkos, who played on three provincial championship baseball teams for the Markham Mariners from about age 11 to 13, the grand old game has long been a passion.
Whatever talents he may have had -- or still has -- for baseball, hockey fans, and especially Tampa Bay fans, have to be happy he started following the path he's currently on. Feschuk also points out that NHL players have to get written consent from their team to take part in certain offseason activities, including baseball, and that consent is usually given.Stamkos, who plays left field, is apparently hitting .608 on the season and clubbed a three-run homer the night Feschuk attended.
Some other notable hockey-baseball connections: You may have heard a thing or two (in every single game he played) about Chris Drury's appearance in the Little League World Series, while it's pretty common for hockey players that share a city with a big league baseball team to take their hacks in the batting cage. A couple of years ago Penguins captian Sidney Crosby knocked one out of PNC Park in Pittsburgh, while new Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith managed to do the same back in June.
(H/T The Big Lead, via PHT)
Posted on: August 31, 2011 2:04 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2011 3:35 pm
Skating at the Caps practice facility as he and his wife are back in the District to try and sell their Virginia house, Steckel took a little time to talk with the Washington Post's Tarik El-Bashir about a few lingering items. One regards the health of Sidney Crosby, the other the criticism levied on Alexander Semin by former Caps enforcer Matt Bradley.
First, to the Crosby treatment. Remember, it was Steckel that hit Crosby in the Winter Classic, rendering the Penguins star concussed. Since then, the argument has raged of whether or not it was a dirty play or intentional. Steckel, now with the Devils, says neither is the case.
"I had no intent to injure him. I feel just as bad as anybody. I don't want to see anybody out of the game for that long. It's bad enough with everything that's going around with other guys [and] head [injuries]. It's just so uncertain. I feel bad. I wish him the best. I don't wish that upon anybody."
Here's the hit heard 'round the NHL world in case you need a refresher.
To me it never appeared to be a malicious hit by any stretch. It appears to be an unfortunate accident. But it's certainly a debatable topic and the true verdict is always in the eye of the beholder in such situations.
However the majority of the talk with El-Bashir centered on Bradley's remarks about Semin, ya know the ones that Semin "just doesn't care?" Well here's what Steckel had to say on Wednesday.
“It's not like he went out and told lies,” Steckel said. “[He] didn't really say anything bad about anybody. He just stated what he felt. ... I don't have anything to say on what Brads said except that he was spot on. He mentioned Ovi, too, just not on a negative side. He hit it on the head for both guys."
It's nowhere near as inflammatory as the route Bradley took, but it's still no ringing endorsement of Semin.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: August 29, 2011 9:43 am
Edited on: August 29, 2011 9:46 am
NATIONAL DREAM Dan Byslma isn't on any sort of hot seat as the Penguins coach, but he is looking for his next job. That's because Disco Dan has indicated he's interested in coaching the U.S. men's national team (via Sporting News) when the 2014 Olympics come around. ""I'd be more than willing to be a part of a staff, but my goal isn't just to be a part of a staff," the Michigan native said. "At least, the written goal is not just to be part of the staff."
CONCUSSION TALK CONTINUES: In the two-day Molson Export Quebec Hockey Summit in Quebec, the primary point of conversation surrounded the ongoing concussion talk (via Globe and Mail) and what some would call an epidemic in the NHL. With the possibility of Sidney Crosby missing more time, executives are perhaps looking at this issue even more seriously. Not that they weren't before, but Crosby's possible further absence seems to have spurred talks with one goal in mind: reducing concussions. Here's what Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier had to say: "“There are kids who suffer two or three concussions in a year and are pushed to keep playing. I can tell you that if one of my sons gets a concussion, his season is over.”
CAN KESSEL GET OVER THE HILL?: Obviously the Maple Leafs gave up a lot for Phil Kessel, so there expecting a lot from him. He's been an all-star since he came to Toronto, but the fans there are waiting to see more from their top player. That leads us to Maple Leafs Host Stove's burning question ... can Kessel score more than 40 this season? They take a stab at answering that question.
'CANES QUESTION: The Hurricanes was a middle-of-the-pack team as far as scoring last season, so it's not as if there was a drought in Carolina. But with one of the team's three 20-plus goal scorers from last season (Erik Cole) out of town, Chip Patterson at the News Observer wonders who will do the scoring for the 'Canes this season outside of Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner?
SIGN OF THE TIMES: Yes, the season is getting closer. Much closer. Just take a look at what's going on in Columbus' Nationwide Arena ... the ice is coming back (from @ddawley twitpic).
Posted on: August 24, 2011 10:03 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 11:22 pm
By: Adam Gretz
As the Sidney Crosby concussion saga has unfolded over the past couple of months there's been a lot of discussion and speculation regarding his status. Most of the talk has come from his agent, his team and media reports, with little actually coming from Crosby.
Earlier on Wednesday Dejan Kovacevic of the Tribune Review and Sportsnet's Jeff Marek both made their case for Crosby to break his silence and give an update straight from the horses mouth.
On Wednesday evening the Penguins website offered yet another update on Crosby's recovery, including a quote from their captain -- which didn't really tell us all that much -- as well as an update that several of the leading concussion experts that he's been seeing expect him to make a full recovery. Eventually.
Said Crosby, via the team release, “I appreciate all the support I’ve received from my family, friends, teammates and fans and from the entire Penguins organization. I know they only want the best for my health, and for me to be fully ready when I return to game action.”
Surely you weren't expecting anything different at this point.
The release did, however, seem to address the altered offseason workouts we recently heard about:
Crosby's agent, Pat Brisson, is also quoted in the statement, saying “We always knew this was going to be a progressive recovery – based on how he felt. With a concussion, there is not a finite recovery period like with a shoulder injury or a knee injury. That’s why we’ve never even set a specific goal for a return date like the start of training camp or Oct. 1 or anything else. He will play when he is symptom free.”And that obviously hasn't happened yet. But again, we're still over a month away from the start of the regular season, so there's still time for him to be ready when the puck drops in October. But we are running out of time. And as Brisson points out in the statement, and this is still the most important thing in all of this, dates aren't the issue -- it's all about how Crosby feels.
The fact that he's still seeing specialists -- the statement claims he recently saw specialists in Georgia and Michigan -- and experiencing headaches when he reached 90 percent exertion has to be concerning on some level, even if the specialists still expect a full recovery.
We just don't know when that's going to be.
Photo: Getty Images