Although he hasn’t been cleared for contact during practice yet, Sidney Crosby “exerted himself at a 100 percent pace” during the first day of Pittsburgh Penguins training camp Saturday.
Crosby drew a standing ovation from fans gathered at practice as he wore a white helmet that indicated no contact (which is a lot like NFL players who wear special jerseys to make that much clear in their own practices). The best part for Crosby and the Penguins was that he claimed that he didn’t feel any “ill effects” from working hard in practice. Alan Robinson reports that he practiced for about 70 minutes today.
It’s probably safe to measure his progress in baby steps, although Crosby noted that this is the first time he worked at a 100 percent rate since he resumed workouts during the off-season. The star center still might have a long way to go before he can start preparing for NHL regular season action, but his first day of camp seems like a source of optimism.
“That was a really good pace — it was tough but fun to feel it again,” Crosby said. “I worked as hard as I possibly could out there. For that period of time, that’s the longest I’ve went at that pace. It felt good.”
Unless the symptoms return — and Crosby said they have largely vanished the last few weeks — he plans to practice every day at this same pace until he is cleared for contact. The Penguins have offered no hint when that might be.
We’ll keep an eye on Crosby’s progress, even if it takes a while before he returns to meaningful games.
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.