Sidney Crosby

Another dire Sidney Crosby recovery report, another denial by his agent, and why everyone should relax


Another week, another report on how Sidney Crosby’s recovery from a January concussion is being hampered and will cause him to miss the start of the season.

Last week we had a report coming from XM Radio’s Josh Rimer saying that Crosby would miss the start of the season as he’s suffering setbacks in recovering from a concussion. Penguins GM Ray Shero quickly denied that report saying that everything is progressing as they wanted for Crosby. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma hasn’t even asked Crosby for updates on how he’s doing as part of the treatment for concussions is to keep the stress level down. Having the coach getting in Crosby’s ear would be putting undue pressure on Crosby to rush back to the ice and put himself in danger.

Today, it’s CTV Atlantic out of Halifax, Nova Scotia (Crosby’s home area) reporting essentially the same thing Rimer did last week saying that Crosby is dealing with setbacks in his concussion recovery and will miss the start of the season as he tries to get back to 100% health.

Sources say Crosby’s concussion symptoms returned last week and he cancelled all of his scheduled on-ice workouts at a Halifax-area rink.

Penguins players are expected to appear at training camp in mid-September and it appears Crosby will not be one of them.

As we saw last week, these stories can start a wildfire of speculation and this time it is Crosby’s agent, Pat Brisson, who is sounding the call to refute the latest report and give his own update on what’s going on with Sid The Kid.

Crosby’s agent Pat Brisson says the center “hasn’t been shut down by anyone” and instead has adjusted his summer program to address the different needs for his recovery.

We could try to read between the lines on what it means that Crosby’s program has been “adjusted” and assume that means Crosby is still dealing with issues, but that kind of assumption is what causes everyone to get bent out of shape. While we’re all anxious and curious about what’s going on with Crosby as we haven’t seen him suited up with the Penguins since early January, this is the sort of situation where we’re just going to have to be happy with whatever news we do get and hope that it’s for the best.

With the new season approaching and Crosby being, perhaps, the best player in the game asking for patience is the hardest thing to do from fans and appreciators alike. In the past when concussions weren’t as apparent and easy to diagnose as they are now, post-concussion symptoms like headaches and dizziness would be played through and leave those players to be more susceptible to further injury and shortening their careers. The last thing anyone wants to see is to have Sidney Crosby deal with the issues that Eric Lindros had in seeing his career ended unceremoniously too soon.

Now that the Penguins and NHL are being more active in treating and diagnosing these problems, waiting for Crosby to be as well as he can be is the right thing, but also the most difficult thing to do. Until there’s anything more definitive from the Penguins, Crosby’s doctors, or from Sid himself we’re going to be left waiting to see when (or if) Crosby can come back to the ice.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.