Crosby 'eager' to get back

Sidney Crosby looks on while playing against the Washington Capitals during the 2011 NHL...

Sidney Crosby looks on while playing against the Washington Capitals during the 2011 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic at Heinz Field on January 1, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

PITTSBURGH - So far, so good.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain, Sidney Crosby plans to skate with his teammates again Sunday after an encouraging practice on the Penguins’ first day of training camp Saturday.

That’s a great sign.

Crosby, working his way back from a concussion he suffered in January, looked like he was going at top speed as he took part in the drills with the Pens’ third group Saturday, which practised after the other two groups scrimmaged. Crosby still hasn’t been cleared for contact.

“Felt good out there,” said Crosby after the approximately 70-minute practice which started with the fans on hand giving Crosby a standing ovation when he skated onto the ice at the Consol Energy Center. “It was a really good pace and I think it was tough, but fun to feel that again.”

Crosby had to dial back his workouts a few weeks ago after he started feeling post-concussion symptoms after getting up to about 90% exertion.

He made it sound like he went above that Saturday and will wait now to see how he feels.

“I worked as hard as I possibly could out there. For that period of time I think that’s probably the longest I went at that pace,” he said.

“It’s one day. Glad I felt good, but I think that being said have to see after the next few days here.”

Crosby worked faceoff drills, cycling drills and rushes and skated sprints along with his teammates.

Beyond committing to skating Sunday, Crosby didn’t know how things would progress from here, though Saturday’s skate was an important step. It was a full practice, at a good pace, with lots of bodies flying around and Crosby looked more than comfortable in that environment. His skills and speed made him standout, which normally would be the case, but was particularly significant given the cirumstances.

“That’s pretty much the plan (to skate Sunday). It’s going to be a day-to-day thing. I won’t be able to give you a seven day-outlook. Really. it’s just going to be day-to-day,” he said.

Crosby said he appreciated the warm reception from the fans.

“That was really nice. I was really happy to be back out there and obviously fun to go out there and work hard. Obviously, it’s never fun when you’re tired and you’re going through drills like that, but at the same time you miss that, you miss the fatigue and having to battle through it so it was nice to go through all of it.

“I’m as eager as hopefully (the fans) are to see me out there. I want to get back. I’m doing everything I can in my power to make sure that’s as soon as possible. That being said there’s necessary steps to take and I’m going to make sure I do that.”

Crosby will continue to skate with the group that doesn’t scrimmage each day and will consult with doctors before resuming contact.

Dr. Ted Karrick, the chiropactor who joined Crosby’s care team about a month ago, told a Pittsburgh radio station he thought Crosby was ready for contact now, which, as you might expect, caused some ripples within the Penguins camp and at UPMC, which has the concussion clinic where Crosby has been treated.

Karrick, who was on hand along with Dr. Micky Collins of UPMC at Crosby’s press conference a couple of weeks ago, told ESPN Radio: “Sid’s as ready (for physical contact) as just about any player in the NHL. Now it is more a situation of his physicality and getting back into shape.”

“There’s no division (among the doctors). I don’t really know where that came from,” said Crosby. “I think as far as the final say, that’s going to be our team doctor. At the end of the day, he’s got to be the one that clears me to play. It’ll be up to him and there’s constant communication. Everyone will be well aware of everything before each step is made.”

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca
twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


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