AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

Sports

October 18, 2011

NHL: Crosby cleared for contact

PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby has traded in his white helmet. There’s still no telling when the Pittsburgh Penguins star will be able to do the same with his practice jersey.

The former MVP’s comeback from concussion-like symptoms took a major step forward Thursday when he was cleared for contact by team doctors for the first time since being injured last January.

Crosby wore a black helmet like the rest of his teammates during a morning skate prior to Thursday night’s showdown with Washington. The 24-year-old had been wearing a white helmet during workouts to indicate he wasn’t to be touched.

While there were no major collisions, the simple change in headgear is another positive sign that the sport’s biggest star is close to returning.

“This is a good step in the right direction and we’ll see how it goes the next little bit,” he said.

How long that “next little bit” will last remains unclear. Crosby, as he’s done for the last 10 months, refused to put a timetable on when he’ll be ready to play.

Part of the problem is Pittsburgh’s cramped early season schedule. Thursday’s game is the team’s fifth in eight days and the next three weeks are nearly as busy, leaving little time for full-contact drills.

“I have to get hit at some point during practice but we’re playing so much it’s hard to get that right now,” Crosby said.

Coach Dan Bylsma says he may try to find some extra practice time for Crosby to help get him acclimated but added Crosby’s participation in nearly every drill during training camp means Crosby might not have that much further to go.

“He’s been with the line, he’s been in drills, he’s covered some drills that have contacted,” Bylsma said. “He was wearing a different color helmet but he’s been in those situations.”

While his teammates have done their best to protect their captain during practice, Crosby has admitted to some jostling at times with no recurrence of the symptoms that have sidelined him since take head shots in consecutive games in early January.

“Everything has gone really smooth,” Crosby said.

The question becomes who will be the first player to take it to the game’s best player. Bylsma said it will be up to Crosby to mix it up, but doesn’t think it will take long for the seven-year veteran to get a teammate’s attention.

“Sid’s the type of player that he instigates contact,” Bylsma said. “He’ll do something that will warrant that from a player. He’ll go out and do something. ... I think every training camp when Sid’s been healthy he’s always ended up in some kind of jostling where the ire’s gotten up on both guys and that’ll happen again because of the way Sidney competes.”

The team is in no rush to hurry him back. The Penguins are off to their best start since 1994-95, going 3-0-1 in their first four games.

Their play has taken some of the pressure off Crosby, who insists he’s not frustrated or anxious even as his return inches closer to reality.

“When you’ve waited this long, you just want to make sure you do everything right and it’s exciting if anything,” he said. “I don’t think it’s hard to be patient at this point. We’re getting closer and we just want to make sure I respond to everything well in the however next long it is.”

Kunitz signs new deal

The Penguins and forward Chris Kunitz have agreed on a two-year extension that will keep him with the club through the 2013-14 season.

The deal will pay the 32-year-old Kunitz $3.725 million a season. Kunitz is coming off an impressive 2010-11 season in which he recorded 23 goals and 25 assists in 66 games. He has one assist in four games for the Penguins this season.

Bylsma has praised Kunitz’s leadership on helping the Penguins thrive without Crosby.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • THE CHECKERED FLAG: Up and down week for Sodeman

    LAST FRIDAY I headed south to add I-77 Raceway Park to my track attended list, which made for 162nd track all-time.  I-77 is located south of Ripley, West Virginia just off Interstate 77.  This season, I-77 moved from the crowded Saturday night line-up to Friday night racing and teamed up with Ohio Valley Speedway.  I-77 normally runs Super Late Models, Semi-Late Models, E-Mods, Mod Lites, and 4-Cylinder Mini Stocks.  With the Sprint Cars on the schedule, I decided to make the trip and they were joined by the Super Late Models, Semi-Late Models, and E-Mods.

    July 21, 2014

  • THE CHECKERED FLAG: Blaney still running hot on area tracks

    LAST THURSDAY I headed southwest to Atomic Speedway, formerly known as KC Raceway.  The 1/3-mile high-banked dirt oval is located an hour south of Columbus, Ohio just off Route 23 near Alma.  It was my first visit in a couple years.  A big crowd turned out on Independence Day Eve as the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars were back along with the Super Late Models and E-Mods.  The Ohio Speedweek event the week before drew a huge 62-car field and Thursday’s event drew 33.
    After an astounding Speedweek winning the final three races and four of six, Dale Blaney returned to the track that he last got defeated at.  On the Speedweek show, Jac Haudenschild made the winning pass of Blaney, while Blaney finished second.  Last Thursday, even a seventh starting spot didn’t derail Blaney for long.  The Hartford, Ohio racer worked his way to the front and made the winning pass of race-long leader Tim Shaffer on lap 16.  One caution three laps from the finish was all that slowed Blaney’s run to another $5,000 payday.  It was Blaney’s fourth straight win, sixth of the season, and all-time leading 105th of his career with the All Stars.

    July 13, 2014

  • EXTRA INNINGS: Bucs fans loved Burnett, but let's leave him in Philly

    THERE IS NO no doubt that A.J. Burnett made a huge impact during his two seasons with the Pirates.
    When he arrived in the spring of 2012, so did hope for fans wearied by teams that hadn’t seen a winning record in 20 summers.
    While he certainly did not turn the tide by himself, he turned the wheel. His swagger sometimes didn’t play well with management, but even the Buc brass had to appreciate the new culture that Burnett helped his teammates create.

    July 9, 2014

  • NCAA Football: Rock 6-1 after 17-3 win over Cal U

    Slippery Rock University rode a length-of-the-field scoring drive by its offense and a goal-line stand by its No. 1-ranked defense late in the first half of action Saturday to a 17-3 win over 14th-ranked visiting California (Pa.).

    October 19, 2011

  • steez pc.jpg NFL: Steelers top Jags as Mendenhall makes return

    Mike Tomlin isn’t ready to say the Pittsburgh Steelers are back. Not after watching his team sleepwalk through the second half against Jacksonville on Sunday.

    October 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • wheldon, dan pc.jpg IndyCar Racing: Crash takes Wheldon’s life

    Every race car driver heads onto the track understanding this race could be the last and hoping it won’t be. On Sunday, IndyCar drivers got a harsh reminder when the worst happened to one of their own.

    October 19, 2011 3 Photos

  • pens pc.jpg NHL: Sabres beat Penguins 3-2

    The Buffalo Sabres have had trouble with the Pittsburgh Penguins whether Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin play or not.

    October 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • canadiens logo pc.jpg NHL Quick glance: Montreal at Pittsburgh

    A breakdown of the National Hockey League game Thursday night between the Pittsburgh Penguins and visiting Montreal Canadiens.

    October 19, 2011 4 Photos

  • High School Highlights: Oct. 19, 2011

    A look at the last few days in local high school fall sports action.

    October 19, 2011

  • washington, ron pc.jpg Leading Off: Oct. 19, 2011

    News and notes from the local, regional and national sports scene.

    October 19, 2011 5 Photos

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide