Sullivan: Sidney Crosby wasn’t evaluated for a concussion after head-first crash

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Sidney Crosby wasn’t evaluated for a concussion during Monday’s Game 6 between the Penguins and Capitals, despite a dangerous head-first crash into the end boards in the first period.

That is according to multiple reports quoting coach Mike Sullivan, after the Penguins were crushed 5-2 by the Capitals, which forces a seventh and deciding game in this second round series.

The Penguins captain and the face of the entire NHL has a history of concussions, including his most recent one suffered exactly one week ago when he was cross checked in the head during Game 3.

On Monday, Crosby took a stick to the face in the first few minutes of the opening period. He went to the bench and received repairs but stayed in the game. Later in the period, Crosby went crashing into the boards after he came into contact with the left pad of Braden Holtby while chasing a puck near the Washington net.

And yet, he remained on the ice to finish his shift and, despite slowly getting back to his skates, he stayed in the game — a development that raised plenty of criticism on social media for the league’s concussion protocol.

Although, there seems to be somewhat conflicting messages between Sullivan and Crosby.

Crosby, Sheary pass baseline concussion tests, will be game-time decisions

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The Pittsburgh Penguins could have Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary back in the lineup on Saturday night for Game 5 of their second-round series against the Washington Capitals.

Coach Mike Sullivan announced on Saturday morning that both players passed their baseline concussion tests and will be game-time decisions. Sullivan added that Crosby has “had a number of positive days.”

Both players missed Game 4 of the series — which the Penguins won 3-2 to take a 3-1 series lead — due to concussions. Crosby was injured when he was cross-checked in the head by Matt Niskanen early in the first period of Game 3. Niskanen was given a five-minute major for cross-checking and ejected from the game but received no additional discipline from the NHL.

Sheary was knocked out of the same game following a collision with teammate Patric Hornqvist in the second period.

Both players were full participants in practice on Friday, with Crosby taking his spot on the top-line between Jake Guentzel and Hornqvist.

Sheary skated on the third line alongside Nick Bonino and Bryan Rust.

Crosby has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in eight playoff games, including two goals and two assists in this series.

Crosby has concussion, but Penguins ‘optimistic’ he’ll be back soon

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Sidney Crosby has a concussion. He won’t play tomorrow in Game 4 of the Capitals-Penguins series in Pittsburgh.

“We will evaluate him from there,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said today.

“He’s very upbeat and positive,” Sullivan added. “We’re very optimistic and hopeful we’ll have him back in a timely fashion.”

Crosby was hurt last night when he took a cross-check to side of his head from Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen. An instant earlier, Crosby had taken an Alex Ovechkin stick to the back of his head.

Ovechkin was not penalized, but Niskanen received a five-minute major and a game misconduct. Crosby stayed down for a while and had to be helped off the ice. He did not return to the game.

“He will go through the protocols that we always put our guys through when they’ve been diagnosed with a concussion,” Sullivan said, per the Washington Post. “The nature of these things is that they are all very different. Sometimes they come around quickly, other times they don’t.”

Crosby, of course, has a well-documented history with concussions. He missed six games in October with one. He missed many more games earlier in his career with the same injury.

Read more: Capitals, Penguins reflect on Crosby’s ‘gut-wrenching’ injury

The Penguins also announced that Crosby’s sometimes linemate, Conor Sheary, has a concussion. Sheary was hurt last night when he collided with teammate Patric Hornqvist.

No word when Sheary might be able to play again, but he did skate this morning on his own.

The Penguins lead the Capitals, 2-1, in the series.

Related: Trotz calls accusations against Caps ‘ridiculous’

After 12-game absence, Lehtera ready to return from concussion

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Blues forward Jori Lehtera, who’s missed nearly a month with a concussion, declared himself healthy and able to return to the lineup ahead of tomorrow’s game against the Jets.

But when will he draw back in?

Lehtera has missed 12 games in a row and, during that spell, St. Louis has played extremely well, going 9-1-2 to move into third spot in the Central Division. That includes Sunday’s 4-1 victory over the Preds — the team chasing St. Louis in the Central — and it’s reasonable to suggest head coach Mike Yeo won’t tinker much with a winning lineup.

Lehtera had a difficult year prior to getting hurt, scoring just six goals and 19 points through 61 games. Concussion issues derailed the start of his campaign and, in December, former head coach Ken Hitchcock made the 29-year-old a healthy scratch, saying the Blues needed more from him.

With Lehtera, Paul Stastny and Robby Fabbri out, Yeo has been forced to integrate some of the organization’s younger forwards into the NHL mix, and the kids have responded. Ivan Barbashev has played well, as has Zach Sanford, one of the assets acquired in the Kevin Shattenkirk-to-Washington trade.

Video: Pens’ Guentzel suffers concussion from hit by Sabres’ Ristolainen

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Sidney Crosby showed a moment of brilliance and, in contrast, a moment of bitterness during Tuesday’s Penguins – Sabres game, but it wasn’t the only nasty moment.

Crosby’s young linemate Jake Guentzel was clearly struggling after a hit by Buffalo blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen during the first period. Ristolainen received a five-minute major and game misconduct for interference on that play.

You can see that hard hit in the video above.

The Penguins have already been battling a ridiculous slew of injuries, and it sure seemed like Guentzel was dazed. Not good.

This game means a ton more to Pittsburgh than it does to Buffalo, yet the physical play and decent array of scoring chances makes it seem like both teams are quite engaged.

Update: Bad news for the Penguins, as it appears that Guentzel suffered a concussion.