Penguins captain Sidney Crosby
told the media Saturday afternoon at Southpointe that he will not play in the team’s 12:30 p.m. matinee contest Sunday against the Boston Bruins at CONSOL Energy Center.
“No, I’m not playing,” Crosby said. “The good thing is that we have a good chunk of practices next week so we’ll see how that goes. Hopefully, it’s soon.”
Crosby, who was cleared for full contact practice on Tuesday, was asked about possibly playing next Thursday in New York against the Rangers, who are four-points ahead of Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference standings.
“That’s soon, so we’ll see,” he responded.
For now, there is no definite return date.
"We weren’t planning on a date or a day for him to return," head coach Dan Bylsma said. "We were talking since Wednesday or so of last week that we wanted to put 4-5 good days of practice together. When we did that, as we progressed and things went well, we would go from there. We’re in the middle of that right now."
Crosby, who has been out of the lineup since Dec. 6 with concussion-like symptoms and a neck injury, hasn’t had any setbacks or symptoms since beginning contact and is pleased with his progress.
“I have to make sure that I’m ready and responsible out there,” he said. “That being said, it always takes time. … I need to get to another level as far as the extent of the physicality out there. There’s been nothing that’s really alarming.
“I’m really happy with the way I’ve felt leading up to this point.”
Crosby made his decision to not play against the Bruins early Saturday morning before practice.
“We talked about it this morning,” he said. “Based on practice and our schedule, it wasn’t looking like we’d get a ton of contact in. I knew that leading up to this point.”
On Jan. 31 Crosby was diagnosed with a soft-tissue neck injury that could be causing neurological symptoms, which are similar to concussion symptoms. He was treated with an injection by Dr. Robert S. Bray, a neurological spine specialist based in Los Angeles, to alleviated inflammation in the C1 and C2 joints of the neck.
Crosby was off to his best professional season in 2010-11 with 32 goals and 66 points in 41 games before suffering a concussion in January 2011. The injury caused him to miss 61 consecutive games.
Crosby returned to the ice Nov. 21 against the NY Islanders, posting two goals and four points. He would play eight games, totaling 12 points (2G-10A) before suffering from the recent setback following a Dec. 5 game against the Boston Bruins. Full interview transcript here.