Sidney Crosby

Today could be a big day in the Sidney Crosby concussion saga

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Reports indicate that Sidney Crosby plans to meet with doctors Tuesday morning to determine whether or not he can get cleared for contact. Even if he’s cleared, the word is that Crosby won’t be able to play against the Florida Panthers tonight, but this is still potentially huge news (and not just for the people who drafted him in fantasy hockey leagues).

Forgive the speculation, but it would be awfully interesting if Crosby accomplished the far-flung task of returning by Thursday. If he did that, Crosby would face the team that probably injured him: the Washington Capitals. He’ll have to wait to play against the Toronto Maple Leafs (David Steckel) on Oct. 29 and Tampa Bay Lightning (Victor Hedman) on Nov. 17 to face the players who landed those concussive shots on him, though.

The more likely scenario is that he’ll need a couple weeks or so to return if he gets cleared for contact, although with most concussion situations, it’s anyone’s guess.

There’s no guarantee that the results of his visit will be positive enough to spring him back into near-future action, but this is one of the more optimistic moments in Crosby’s hopeful comeback. He reportedly hasn’t missed a practice since Sept. 17, so it certainly seems like he’s headed in the right direction.

We’ll keep an eye out for updates about Crosby and his fellow injured teammate Evgeni Malkin, who sat out Oct. 9’s game against the Edmonton Oilers with a “lower body injury.”

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.