Sidney Crosby’s health has been in the news a lot recently. More than he’d like it to be, I’m sure. Some news outlets have him missing the start of the 2011-2012 season (due to his ongoing concussion troubles), while others expect to see him play in the Pittsburgh Penguin’s season opener come early October.
Full disclosure: I’ve never had a concussion. I don’t think.
While it’s refreshing to hear everyone associated with the Nonchalant Headshot League putting Crosby’s health ahead of the needs of the Penguins or the league, it’s kind of a given. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great, but if we’re being honest, the league can’t afford to screw this up. Not this one. This is the highest profile concussion the league has ever had. (In a morbidly ironic way, this injury was sustained in the highest profile regular season game last year too. Talk about bad timing.) The NHL needs to treat this one properly, but to their credit, the Penguins have done just that, and the league has followed suit.
That’s the thing. We’re talking about Sidney Crosby, the world’s best hockey player. Not some “replaceable” third line grinder. (I say replaceable respectfully, of course. But there will always be other capable players waiting for their chance to prove themselves.)
From a public perception standpoint, the league can’t tread carefully enough. Crosby is the league’s top ambassador and biggest asset. As much as he means to the Penguins, he means more to the game itself. If he needs to take a year to recover, so be it. Give him the full year. Even then there’s no guarantees he’ll be any better than he was last week. Crappy. But at least Crosby’s fortunate enough to have that luxury.