SBD/January 19, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Crosby Says He Will Not Boycott All-Star Game; Addresses Hits To Head

Crosby hopeful to play in All-Star Game as he recovers from concussion
Penguins C Sidney Crosby yesterday said that he "remains unaware of when he will return from concussion-related symptoms and that he isn't boycotting" the Jan. 30 NHL All-Star Game despite a report suggesting that he might, according to Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW. Crosby met with the media and said of the report, "That's not even close. I'll be there if I can be there." Crosby added that he "hopes to play in the all-star game but can't make any promises." Crosby: "There's a slight chance I'll be back for that. That's what I'm hoping. ... I still haven't ruled out being there." Yohe notes Crosby was the "victim of two clear head shots, something that the NHL is supposedly attempting to remove from the game" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 1/19). Crosby's agent, CAA Hockey co-Head Pat Brisson, yesterday said Crosby "hasn't told me anything" regarding a boycott of the game. Brisson: "Of course he's angry that he's hurt. But we've never even discussed the All-Star Game" (, 1/18). FSN Pittsburgh's Stan Savran said of Crosby addressing the report, "I have a distinct feeling that was not scheduled, but once he heard about the reports coming out of Toronto -- and in Toronto it's like the wild, wild west, there aren't many rules of journalism there, they just print things -- I think he wanted to set the record straight. I don't think he any intention of talking to the media." FSN Pittsburgh's Lacee Collins: "For Sidney, who is one of the faces of the league if not the face, he wanted to say, 'No, this is what I'm about.' ... He took every question asked" ("Penguins Faceoff," FSN Pittsburgh, 1/18).

STILL UP IN THE AIR: The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts reports despite Crosby dismissing the report, his presence at the All-Star Game "remains up in the air." NHL VP/Hockey & Business Development Brendan Shanahan said that Crosby "told him 'he wanted to do as much as he can' for the showcase event but they did not discuss his attendance" (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/19). In Toronto, Chris Stevenson writes Crosby "would be doing the game a service if he were to stand up and say he's skipping the all-star game because he doesn't think the NHL is doing enough to protect its players from headshots." There is "nothing like having the game's best player speak up ... and skip one of the league's showcase events to get the game's business managers in New York to take notice" (TORONTO SUN, 1/19).

HEAD GAMES: The GLOBE & MAIL's Stephen Brunt notes Crosby yesterday "took a simple open-ended question and ran with it, he went off-script, he said there was something fundamentally wrong with the way the NHL identified and penalized head shots." Crosby: "When I look at those two hits, you talk about blindside, that's a big word, unsuspecting player, there was no puck there on both of them. It was a direct hit to the head on both of them. ... I know it's a fast game. I've been hit a thousand times. When you get hit like that, there's nothing you can do. There's no way to protect yourself." Brunt writes Crosby's comments were "startling because it was the NHL's meal ticket talking, its poster boy, its current great hope for expanding the game's reach beyond its hardcore following" (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/19). In Pittsburgh, Shelly Anderson notes the NHL has suspended two players "due to head hits" since Crosby was injured. Crosby said of the league, "It's something they're aware of. The last week or so, I think there's been a couple of suspensions for hits to the head. It's something they're trying to be active with. I think that's the right thing to do" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1/19).

TIME FOR UNION INTERVENTION: In Toronto, Damien Cox writes it is "great that Crosby always wants to be an ambassador for the sport and try to say the right thing." But Cox added of the NHL Winter Classic, "When you're standing in a rainstorm on New Year's Day insisting conditions are great for hockey, somebody's taking advantage of you." What Crosby "really needs is for his fellow NHLPA unionists and the organization's new leader, Donald Fehr, to collectively demand action." The union right now "generally only acts on issues with dollar signs attached," and the players "just seem intent on injuring each other until someone -- anyone -- steps in" (TORONTO STAR, 1/19).
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