MONTREAL -- For the second occasion in his lifetime, Penguins center Sidney Crosby
will miss an All-Star Game in Montreal - the city he grew up cheering for as a youth.
A knee injury is forcing him to miss this weekend’s NHL SuperSkills competition on Saturday and the All-Star Game on Sunday in Montreal. But Crosby also missed the 2005 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League All-Star Game, also played in Montreal, with an ankle injury.
“I think it’s an unfortunate situation,” Crosby said. “I remember playing in Junior and I missed the one in Junior. I remember watching that game hoping that I’d be able to play in the NHL (in Montreal) one day. I was fortunate enough to do that and had another chance to play in another All-Star Game too. Not being able to be a part of that is tough to take. I’m getting the second-best thing. I’m here and I’m going to experience it and enjoy it as much as I can as if I were playing.”
"In an event like this you obviously want the top players to play, it’s the All-Star Game," New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist said. "There’s nothing you can do. If you’re hurt, you’re hurt. I think he’s the guy that is most disappointed. I think he really wanted to play. He needs to recover."
Crosby, who missed last year's All-Star Game with a high ankle sprain, will not take part in any on-ice situations, heeding the advice of the Penguins’ doctors to allow his knee to rest over the next five days. However, he will still try to be a part of the All-Star event.
My plan was to come here from the moment that I decided that I wasn't going to play due to injury. I'd had a talk with Gary Bettman as to the capacity of me being here, what it was going to be. - Sidney Crosby
“This week I’ll try to be involved in everything but the actual on-ice things,” he said. “Besides that I’ll try to be involved in everything else the guys are doing. As I said the game's for all the players that are playing in it but I’ll try to do what I can.”
Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom decided not to participate in the All-Star festivities and will be forced to miss the Red Wings next regular-season game under a policy instilled last season by NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell. Crosby will not have to miss Pittsburgh’s next game because even though he is not participating he is attending all of the NHL’s events.
“In the case for some guys it’s due to rest,” Crosby said. “In my case it was an injury. There’s nothing I can really do with that. That’s something everyone has to deal with whether you’re unlucky or not. I think the standard for it is more towards making sure guys realize how important this is and setting a standard. I think there’s nothing wrong with that. We all have the honor of playing in the league. For some of us we have the opportunity to come here. That’s something that’s well understood.”
Crosby contacted NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to discuss the situation. Crosby was originally going to attend Saturday’s SuperSkills competition and Sunday’s All-Star Game but Bettman wanted him to be in Montreal Friday as well.
"My plan was to come here from the moment that I decided that I wasn't going to play due to injury," Crosby said. "I'd had a talk with Gary Bettman as to the capacity of me being here, what it was going to be."
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“We contacted (Bettman). I just wanted to get a feel for what he was thinking was important for me. It was good to talk about that because like I said, I’m happy to be here but at the same time, the game is for the guys who are playing. I wanted to make sure we understood what I was going to participate in and things like that.
Crosby injured his knee Jan. 14 against the Washington Capitals in a collision along the boards. He missed the Penguins’ following game against the Anaheim Ducks but returned to play against the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes before the All-Star break.
Following the Hurricanes' contest, team physician Dr. Charles Burke and other Penguins' medical staff recommended Crosby rest his knee and stay off of skates for five days.
"He needs to take care of his injury and it’s his own personal thing," Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara said. "We all have to respect that. If guys have injuries, they know their bodies. If they feel that they need four or five days of rest to make it better then for sure they have to do it. They have to be ready for the regular season."
Crosby is unsure how his knee will respond following the rest or if he’ll be ready for Pittsburgh’s matchup with the Rangers on Wednesday following the All-Star break.
“As for playing Wednesday, I’m not doing anything, it will give me a chance to get back to as close to 100 percent as I can,” Crosby said. “Whether that’s the case, I’ll find out whenever I start skating again. I think is something that’s going to give me the best chance.”