Although it’s not his final step in returning to game action, Sidney Crosby made a crucial “leap” in his recovery.
The first clue that an update was soon to come was earlier this morning when Crosby stepped onto the ice with a black hockey helmet that he traded in for the stark white one he was wearing (to indicate “no contact” like a white flag) during practice throughout the past few weeks of training camp, pre-season, and into the start of the regular season until today.
Crosby announced after today’s practice that he has been medically cleared for “full contact.”
“I’m cleared for full contact. It’s a good step in the right direction,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes for the next little bit.”
But the contact is limited to team practices for right now and that means that Crosby’s teammates will be the first one delivering the “blows.” He knows that won’t be easy for any of them.
“When a guy comes back from injury you’re usually a little hesitant. That’s pretty normal,” Crosby said. “I might have to do something to get them to hit me. Maybe I’ll have to bump them a little bit and get them going. As close to a game situation as we can get it.”
He does still have a few more hurdles to overcome before he and his team of physicians can consider the first real challenge of game play, but this is definitely a step we’ve all been waiting patiently for – no one more than Crosby (you just knew that his big grin over the past few weeks meant he knew things were going well and now we do too).
TONIGHT’S GAME AT THE CONSOL AGAINST THE WASHINGTON CAPITALS
The game has been designated to benefit the families of the KHL Lokomotiv team who were lost in a tragic plane crash last month. Players on both teams will don a commemorative Lokomotiv patch on his jersey. The game-worn jerseys will be autographed afterward and auctioned off at nhl.com through October 27th.
MALKIN A GAME-TIME DECISION
Pittsburgh’s head coach Dan Bylsma told the media earlier today that Evgeni Malkin, who has been kept out of the lineup due to a lower-body injury, will be a game-time decision for tonight’s game. According to Malkin: “Yeah, I had a couple days off and my knee feels better. I had a good warmup today and we’ll see tonight.”