NHL notes: Insurance too costly for Sidney Crosby to play during NHL lockout

Penguins forward Sidney Crosby. (QMI Agency file photo)

Penguins forward Sidney Crosby. (QMI Agency file photo)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:47 PM ET

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will have to pay quite a premium if he wants to play elsewhere during the NHL lockout.

Or maybe he should just buy an insurance company.

The combination of his hefty salary and his history of head injuries means it would cost Crosby as much as $400,000 a month for insurance coverage, agent Pat Brisson told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Crosby is scheduled to make $7.5 million this season, before a 12-year deal worth $104.4 million takes effect in 2013-14.

The above-average salary, coupled with a serious concussion suffered in January 2011, followed by a neck injury, make Crosby a bit of an insurance risk.

That has limited his hopes of playing overseas or even in charity games. Crosby was interested in playing in a series of exhibition games in Quebec, organized by former Penguin Max Talbot before he discovered the cost.

"It's not as easy as just going to play," he told the Post-Gazette. "If it was, I'd be playing in a lot more of those."

Instead the 25-year-old centre is skating with some teammates in Pittsburgh and hoping for a break in labour talks.

"It's funny how things work sometimes," he said. "Everyone was pretty optimistic a week and a half ago and nothing really came from it.

"Maybe this time, it'll be a slow week, then, all of a sudden, we'll hear some news. Hopefully, that's the case."

Outside of brief phone conversations between the lieutenants on both sides, no talks are planned this week.

JUST A BLOWHARD

Sandy delivered a stiff bodycheck to the Eastern seaboard, but the two biggest active leagues in the area ducked the hurricane.

The American Hockey League and East Coast Hockey League closed some offices to ride out the storm, but that was it.

"We were lucky it was a light couple of days on the schedule," AHL commissioner Dave Andrews told QMI Agency on Tuesday. "We don't have any postponements, though our main concern is the rink in Atlantic City."

Boardwalk Hall is to host some games starting in late November for New Jersey's farm team in Albany.

"We know there was damage in Atlantic City and that the rink is just above the Boardwalk," Andrews said. "But we haven't heard from the Devils or Albany about changing the schedule yet."

Sandy did severely hamper travel plans for the Norfolk Admirals, farm team of Anaheim. Their plane was diverted to Toronto after a game in St. John's. They eventually made it to Raleigh, N.C., and bused it home at 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday, almost a full day of travel. The Admirals, by the way, play in the 41-year-old Scope Arena, well protected from numerous hurricanes under the world's largest remaining all-concrete dome.

In 2005, Katrina knocked the ECHL Mississippi Sea Wolves out of their 9,000-seat rink in Biloxi. But a league spokesman said no operations were disrupted on Monday.

CLASSIC ON THIN ICE

Nothing has been heard to counter fears the Winter Classic is getting axed Thursday or Friday. If the league pulls the plug by Friday, it can save all but $100,000 of its $3-million rental fee to use the University of Michigan football stadium on New Year's Day.

The Detroit Free Press reported that NHL officials hadn't even bothered going to Ann Arbor, Mich., in recent weeks to do preliminary planning for the game between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs. Two alumni games at Comerica Park in Detroit were also to be part of the festivities.

"We had a good crew ready to go," said Mark Osborne of the Leafs' alumni board. "It would be too bad if it was cancelled, but that's part and parcel with everything else going on in the NHL. If it doesn't happen, I'm sure they'll look at doing it another time."

ICE CHIPS

Andrews says early season AHL attendance figures show a 5% rise, in large part because of the NHL lockout. "Hamilton, Abbotsford, Rochester or any place near an NHL city has (increased)," Andrews said. "And we've done well in our non-traditional hockey markets. No question, it's a great opportunity for young NHL players and for fans to see them. We want to take advantage for as long as it lasts." ... Winger Damien Brunner was to get a shot with the Wings this year. But the lockout sent him back to Zug, Switzerland, where he leads almost 200 signed NHL players scattered around Europe with 24 points in 14 games. Zug teammate Henrik Zetterberg is closing fast with 12 points in just five league games as of Tuesday ... In figures compiled by Elite Hockey Prospects, Brunner leads Ilya Kovalchuk of KHL St. Petersburg by two points. The top 10 includes Tomas Plekanec and Jaromir Jagr (20 points each for Kladno in the Czech League, Tyler Seguin (16 for Biel in Switzerand), the same number as Czech Ales Hemsky (Pardubice), Logan Couture (Geneva) and Pavel Datsyuk (CKSA Moscow) ... Florida's George Parros challenged Mike Brown of the Leafs to a moustache-growing contest via Twitter on Tuesday. Both men always have unique facial hair and are trying to make up for the usual league-wide Movember competition to raise awareness for men's health issues.


Photos