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: April should bring welcome return of local racing

    MOTHER NATURE’S last stronghold on winter may slowly be releasing her grip as the calendar changes to April and racing begins to get under way throughout the region. 
    Locally, nothing has happened yet, but that may soon be changing. Mercer had to postpone their “Chiller Thriller” to this Saturday (April 5), weather permitting, featuring the NDRL Northeast Super Late Models, NDRL E-Mods, Crate Late Models, and Stock Cars. Mercer’s regular season opener featuring their weekly divisions of “410” Sprints, “358” Modifieds, “305” Sprints, Stock Cars, Mod Lites, and Mini Stocks has now been pushed back to April 12. 

    April 6, 2014

  • Dishing off Mercer boys bow in Guerino finals

    The Hickory girls and Farrell boys captured championships on Saturday night at the 17th annual Buddy Guerino Underclassmen Basketball Tournament at Sharpsville High School.
    The Hickory girls beat Kennedy Catholic, 41-29, for the crown while the Farrell boys topped Mercer, 76-35, for the title.
    In the consolation games, Sharpsville defeated Sharon, 35-15, in girls hoops while the Sharon boys beat Hickory, 57-33.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • EXTRA INNINGS: Bonds ruined opening day for Pirates fans

    As this column begins today its 47th year, longtime readers no doubt expected to find what they have found at the beginning of every baseball season — predictions for upcoming summer.
    And as I sat down last week to start to put together some ideas for today’s entry, that is fully what I anticipated would fill this space.
    Well, I’m as surprised as you are; 2014’s season prognostications must wait until next week.
    I just can’t get past the fact that club president Frank Coonelly thought the celebration of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first winning season in 21 years should include Barry Bonds.
    You gotta be kidding me!

    April 3, 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