If Sidney Crosby’s concussion issues linger, will the NHL face an 2011 All-Star Game headache?

Aside from flat-out fatigue and/or disinterest, star injuries are possibly the biggest threat to the entertainment value of any All-Star game that takes place during a sport’s season. Any hit in any game can render an important talent unable to participate.

Considering the fact that Sidney Crosby is dealing with concussion problems, former All-Star and current NHL executive Brendan Shanahan must grapple with the possibility that the game’s biggest name might need to miss the event. Calgary Sun columnist Eric Francis notes that Shanahan’s plan was to announce the two teams’ captains this week, but Crosby’s in-limbo status might throw a wrench in those plans.

Francis notes that the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t giving daily updates on Crosby’s status anymore, but he phoned the player’s agent Pat Brisson. Brisson basically backed up other reports, stating that Crosby seems to be getting better but is still dealing with some symptoms.

The Penguins have stopped giving daily updates on Crosby, but his agent talked to him Saturday and told the Sun his post-concussion symptoms are still there.

“He feels better, but he’s still not there,” said Pat Brisson.

“He’s groggy in the morning and doesn’t feel too good.He’ll feel better for five or six hours, and then it gets worse. It’s the grogginess more than anything. He had severe neck pain after the (David) Steckel hit, but it’s going away a bit.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Shelly Anderson writes that Crosby is still very involved with the team even though he hasn’t been cleared to actually take place in any workouts or practices.

Bylsma added that Crosby, the ultimate grown-up rink rat, is staying involved as best he can while he recovers from a concussion that has kept him off the ice for the past four games.

“It’s funny,” Bylsma said. “Physical activity is not something that he’s involved in right now, but he’s been around the rink an awful lot talking hockey, thinking about the power play, doing things to try to stay motivated and be involved.”

As you’ve probably noticed, guessing when a player might return from concussion problems is a fool’s errand. So instead of speculating regarding when Crosby might return, we’ll pass along updates on his condition.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara
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Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: