After spending a good part of Thursday chatting with several of the 34 top stars that have come to New York and Newark, N.J., for the League's fourth annual Player Media Tour, I left with a couple of thoughts and observations about the upcoming season.
confirmed that he's leaned on good friend/Bruins center Patrice Bergeron
for support and occasional advice during his continuing recovery from the concussion that sidelined him in January.
That almost made a lot of sense to me. If anyone has an idea what Crosby has been going through, Bergeron would be that anyone. The Bruins pivot suffered a serious concussion in October 2007, which put him on the shelf for the remainder of the '07-08 campaign.
Crosby and Bergeron have been friends since the two were teammates on Canada's 2005 gold-medal winning World Junior Championship team. Five years later, they both were part of their country's Olympic gold performance.
EJ's Instant Analysis
Every Tuesday and Friday, NHL.com analyst EJ Hradek shares his take on all the offseason news.
*Here's a Crosby prediction: While I'm no doctor – and I don't even play one on TV – I'm thinking he'll return to action at some point during the season. It may be sooner. It may be later. But, I feel he will be back. He's wisely taken the cautious route, especially in light of what we've learned from these types of injuries across the years.
According to those close to the situation, Dr. Ted Garrick, a professor of Clinical Neurology, who was part of the Penguins/Crosby press conference in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, had had a very positive impact on Crosby's improvement since being consulted earlier in the summer.
*Flyers shifty sniper Claude Giroux
believes he'll have no problem working the middle on a consistent basis. "I did it a lot last year," he says.
and Giroux will arrive at camp as the club's top two centers. While both guys have played the wing in the past, they prefer being in the middle.
During the past few seasons, the Flyers have had a lot of natural centers taking turns on the wing. Now, after some significant off-season restructuring, I figure they'll have more balance. They'll have centers playing the middle and more natural wingers.
In fact, they're going to be big and talented on the wing with the additions of Jaromir Jagr
, Jacob Voracek and Wayne Simmonds
, as well as the emergence of James vanRiemsdyk, who just signed a new five-year deal with the organization.
*Lightning pivot Steven Stamkos
, who also signed a new five-year contract in July, spent his summer vacation training with Gary Roberts
at the former NHLer's new training center outside of Toronto.
"I've really learned a lot about eating better. You can train really hard, but if you're not eating right, you're not getting the most out of it."
-- Steven Stamkos
"I've really learned a lot about eating better," admits the Bolts' sharpshooter. "You can train really hard, but if you're not eating right, you're not getting the most out of it."
Several big league and junior players have spent time working with Roberts, who upped his own fitness and nutritional awareness after suffering what appeared to be a career-ending neck injury during the 1995-96 season. Roberts even announced his retirement, sitting out the '96-97 season before returning to the League with the Hurricanes in '97-98.
*Oilers winger Taylor Hall
looks fit and ready for his second NHL season after rehabilitating a left-ankle injury which ended his rookie campaign in early March.
The 19-year-old Hall brought his dad, Steve, along for the ride on the media junket. Father and son were eager to check out the sights in New York City.
The kid winger realized he wasn't in Edmonton any more when perused some of the big-city price tags. "It's pretty expensive," he said. I'd have to say he got that right!