Sidney Crosby, who reached the peak of the hockey world this year by leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup championship in June and then fueling Team Canada's victory in the World Cup of Hockey last month, has a concussion and will be out indefinitely, the Penguins said in an announcement Monday.
That's worrisome news because Crosby, 29, has a history of concussions. He was struck in the head twice early in 2011 and played a total of only 63 games over the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons as a result of head and neck issues. He's one of the NHL's most marketable and recognizable players, in addition to being perhaps its best.
According to information released on the Penguins' Twitter account, Crosby sat out an exhibition game on Saturday because he wasn't feeling well, and then underwent concussion testing on Monday. Penguins Coach Mike Sullivan said via Twitter that the injury "happened in practice on Friday." The club said there is no timetable for Crosby's return.
Crosby started last season slowly from an offensive standpoint but was a key figure in the Penguins' second-half rebound and their Cup triumph. He was voted the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup playoffs after scoring six goals and 19 points in 24 games. He also won MVP honors in the World Cup, which ended on Sept. 29.
The NHL season begins Wednesday. The Penguins are considered to have a good chance to repeat as champions, which no team has done since the Detroit Red Wings won in 1997 and 1998. However, losing Crosby would be a severe blow to the Penguins. They also will start without goaltender Matt Murray, who suffered a broken hand while playing for Team North America during the World Cup.