Crosby: ban head checks

Penguins forward Sidney Crosby wants the NHL to ban all deliberate headshots, whether they're...

Penguins forward Sidney Crosby wants the NHL to ban all deliberate headshots, whether they're blindside or straight on. (BRUCE BENNETT/Getty Images)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:23 PM ET

Sidney Crosby, sidelined by lingering concussion symptoms, skated for the first time in two months Monday and then called for the NHL to ban deliberate headshots.

Crosby skated for about 15 minutes on the same day NHL general managers convened in Florida to discuss, among other things, how to deal with the growing problem of head injuries to players.

After his skate, Crosby said he has no clue if he can play again this season. But he did weigh in on the headshots debate, saying there should be strict discipline for anyone intentionally targeting the head.

"No matter if it's from the blindside or straight on, if someone targets the head, then yeah, I think it should be banned," Crosby said in an interview posted on the Penguins website.

"If a guy has enough time to line someone up, then he's got enough time to decide whether he can hit him in the head or not. You're not going to lose anything from the game if you take that away."

Crosby was initially injured during the Winter Classic on New Year's Day when he collided with Washington's David Steckel. The NHL deemed it to be incidental contact and chose not to suspend Steckel.

Even Crosby admits, it's hard to tell sometimes which hits are deliberate and which are accidental.

"When you're looking at accidental contact and stuff, well, that's going to be up to people making those disciplinary decisions whether or not it was targeted," he said. "Sometimes that's tough to really know when you're talking about a fast game like hockey. So that's something they have to discuss. It's just finding out how to do it the right way so that you still have that physical element but at the same time, guys are a little bit safer too."

Crosby said he has been able to exercise in the last few days and has been symptom free but he's not even thinking ahead to the possibility of returning to the ice in time for the Penguins playoff run.

"Today is progress, but I'm nowhere close to where I need to be as far as being in shape," he said. "I'm not even going to talk about that, I just want to be able to get through that without getting a headache, let alone worrying about where my conditioning is at. That's a whole new level."

The NHL's leading scorer when he was injured, Crosby was having an MVP-calibre season. Since then, the Penguins have also lost sniper Evgeni Malkin for the season, and the team's performance in the absence of its biggest stars has been impressive.

"It's been pretty amazing to see the amount of character we have," the captain said of the Penguins, who are fourth in the Eastern Conference with 88 points and are comfortably in a playoff position. "I think with all the adversity we've had, the guys have really done an unbelievable job of just focusing on what they have to do out there.†

Crosby was asked if he has ever considered packing it in for this season or even retiring, as some rumours suggested last week.

"No," he said.


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