Sidney Crosby still out with concussion

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who remains bothered by a concussion and will not resume practicing or playing until he is symptom-free, said he hopes the NHL takes a closer look at how blindside hits are affecting the game.

Crosby was held out of the pregame skate before the Penguins' 4-0 loss to Minnesota Saturday night, the second straight game he has missed. The NHL's leading scorer also isn't expected to play Monday against Boston or Wednesday at Montreal.

"I know it's a fast game, and I think if anybody understands it's a fast game -- I've been hit a thousand times," Crosby said Saturday. "But when you get hit like that, there's nothing you can do. There's no way you can protect yourself. Those are things that hopefully [the NHL] pays more attention to."

Crosby absorbed a blindside hit to the head by Washington Capitals forward David Steckel during the Jan. 1 Winter Classic outdoor game in Pittsburgh, but initially felt only neck soreness.

He began feeling worse Wednesday, but played that night against Tampa Bay and was driven into the boards head-first by defenseman Victor Hedman.

"You're hit a lot in hockey, and you have neck soreness. That's pretty typical," Crosby said. "Wednesday when it started to get more in my head and I felt a little off, that's when I saw the red flag."

Crosby finished that game and flew to Montreal with the team that night. When his condition did not improve, he returned to Pittsburgh Thursday for further tests.

"You talk about head shots and dealing with them, and that's been something that's been pretty big points of interest with everybody -- GMs and players," Crosby said. "When I look at those two hits ... I mean, we talk about blindside, and that's a big word -- unsuspecting player, there's no puck there, and direct hit to the head on both of them. If you want to go through the criteria, I think they fit all those."

Crosby said his condition is about the same as it was Wednesday. He believes this is his first concussion.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Crosby would not have played Wednesday if there had been any hint he had a concussion.

"There isn't a person who we would put on the ice that has concussion symptoms. We were acutely aware of those symptoms and dealing with our doctors," Bylsma said. "He did not go into the Tampa Bay game with any symptoms that we felt were concussion-related."

Bylsma initially said Crosby would be out about a week, but that could change.

"It's one of those things where everyone heals and reacts differently," Crosby said. "It's just one of those things you have to wait out. It's not as easy as a break or something where they really give you a [reliable] time frame. There are certain steps you take, and it's obviously a pretty sensitive issue. You always want to make sure you take your time, and hopefully things are better sooner than later."

Crosby has only one point since Dec. 28, an assist on Wednesday, but still has an NHL-leading 66 points (32 goals, 34 assists).

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.