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Friday, March 16, 2012

Crosby, Concussions, Malkin and the Penguins

Last night Sidney Crosby returned to the Penguins line-up in a battle against the Rangers for the top spot in the Atlantic Division, and also for the lead in the Eastern Conference. The Pens controlled the Rangers in the second and third periods and came out with a 5-2 victory. Crosby had one assist and played 16 minutes of the game, including 4:24 of power-play time. Kris Letang also returned to the line-up after being out from a second head injury which he suffered in a game against the Stars on February 29. Lundqvist, Del Zotto and Callahan were out of the line-up for the Rangers; however, despite that fact, and with or without Crosby, I believe that the Pens would have came out on top because they are playing great hockey and have now won 10 in a row. The Penguins are now just four points behind the Rangers and have a game in hand.

Malkin had a goal in the game and was the 2nd Star. As I stated two months ago, Malkin is currently the best player in the world, he has proven himself to be “the man” in the playoffs, and that the Penguins subsequently have a great chance of winning the Cup this year—with or without Crosby. As for the Rangers, the only chance they have to win the Cup is if Lundqvist plays his best hockey through four playoff series. That is too much emphasis on one player and therefore I don’t consider the Rangers the favorite to win the Cup.

Crosby and Concussions

Crosby’s return to the line-up came after only playing eight games this year before suffering his second concussion this past December. In an article that I wrote in January (“Crosby, Concussions, NHL Rules, Shanahan and Milbury”) I shared my own experience with concussions / brain injury and I recommended that Crosby take advantage of as many endorsements as possible and then retire. Well, I see that he does have some new endorsements but obviously he has not made a decision to retire. He will eventually suffer further brain damage and decide to call it quits, but at that point he can expect more severe symptoms and ones that will be with him for life. It is not enjoyable to have headaches, nausea, dizziness and memory issues—some of which can be with a person always, depending on the damage done. Unfortunately, it is not simply a “mind over matter” issue because some types of physical damage are not repairable.

In thinking about Crosby’s situation, he has plenty of money and he really does not have to continue to take risks. If he wants to stay in the game he should either get into coaching and work his way up to the NHL level; or, he could have a hockey school for five months a year. This way he can skate and play but without contact.

TJ Stanley